With Napa Valley real estate too pricey for farm workers, a local solution

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  • a8dd1 farmworker housing 1 With Napa Valley real estate too pricey for farm workers, a local solution


This photo shows a Napa Valley Farmworker Housing Center. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Image 1 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

This photo shows a Napa Valley Farmworker Housing Center. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

This photo shows a Napa Valley Farmworker Housing Center. Picture…credit: CA Human Development.org

Entrance to a Center. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Image 2 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Entrance to a Center. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Entrance to a Center. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Dorm-style living. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Image 3 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Dorm-style living. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Dorm-style living. Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Communal eating, living, Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Image 4 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Communal eating, living, Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

Communal eating, living, Picture credit: CA Human Development.org

The Farmworker Centers address the fact that even a 2 bedroom home like this one in Napa is beyond the means of most agricultural workers. Photo: RMLS

Image 5 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

The Farmworker Centers address the fact that even a 2 bedroom home like this one in Napa is beyond the means of most agricultural workers. Photo: RMLS

The Farmworker Centers address the fact that even a 2 bedroom home…like this one in Napa is beyond the means of most agricultural…workers. Photo: RMLS

349 S Jefferson in Napa lists for $690K. Photo: RMLS

Image 6 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

349 S Jefferson in Napa lists for $690K. Photo: RMLS

349 S Jefferson in Napa lists for $690K. Photo: RMLS

The home is a typical one at this price. Photo: RMLS

Image 7 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

The home is a typical one at this price. Photo: RMLS

The home is a typical one at this price. Photo: RMLS

Nothing fancy… Photo: RMLS

Image 8 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Nothing fancy… Photo: RMLS

Nothing fancy… Photo: RMLS

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Image 9 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Bath. Photo: RMLS

Image 10 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Bath. Photo: RMLS

Bath. Photo: RMLS

View of yard. Photo: RMLS

Image 11 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

View of yard. Photo: RMLS

View of yard. Photo: RMLS

The home is a little over 2000 square feet including separate unit out back. Photo: RMLS

Image 12 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

The home is a little over 2000 square feet including separate unit out back. Photo: RMLS

The home is a little over 2000 square feet including separate unit out…back. Photo: RMLS

Yard. Photo: RMLS

Image 13 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Yard. Photo: RMLS

Yard. Photo: RMLS

Looking back. Photo: RMLS

Image 14 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Looking back. Photo: RMLS

Looking back. Photo: RMLS

Separate unit. This would be the sort of thing a farmworker might rent…. but rents are too high. Photo: RMLS

Image 15 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Separate unit. This would be the sort of thing a farmworker might rent…. but rents are too high. Photo: RMLS

Separate unit. This would be the sort of thing a farmworker might rent…. but rents are too high. Photo: RMLS

St. Helena is also pricey. This 1 bedroom cottage, in need of upgrades, lists for $675K. Photo: RMLS

Image 16 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

St. Helena is also pricey. This 1 bedroom cottage, in need of upgrades, lists for $675K. Photo: RMLS

St. Helena is also pricey. This 1 bedroom cottage, in need of…upgrades, lists for $675K. Photo: RMLS

1135 Church St. shows the median won’t buy much home in St. Helens. Photo: RMLS

Image 17 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

1135 Church St. shows the median won’t buy much home in St. Helens. Photo: RMLS

1135 Church St. shows the median won’t buy much home in St. Helens….Photo: RMLS

Inside cottage. Photo: RMLS

Image 18 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Inside cottage. Photo: RMLS

Inside cottage. Photo: RMLS

There are 962 sq. feet. Photo: RMLS

Image 19 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

There are 962 sq. feet. Photo: RMLS

There are 962 sq. feet. Photo: RMLS

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Image 20 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Kitchen. Photo: RMLS

Needing a fixers touch… Photo: RMLS

Image 21 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Needing a fixers touch… Photo: RMLS

Needing a fixers touch… Photo: RMLS

One of two small bedrooms. Photo: RMLS

Image 22 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

One of two small bedrooms. Photo: RMLS

One of two small bedrooms. Photo: RMLS

Exterior…. Photo: RMLS

Image 23 of 23 – A tale of two housing styles in Napa

Exterior…. Photo: RMLS

Exterior…. Photo: RMLS

Napa brings tourists from all over the world, an estimated 300 million visitors a year, to sample its wines, mud baths, and pastoral beauty. Real estate, correspondingly, is expensive. The median list prices in various cities within Napa County are daunting, even on the low end of the spectrum: Forbes reported this January that when large parcel listings are excluded, the average current listing price for three bedroom/two bathroom homes is:

  • Napa: $655,466

  • Yountville: $837,250

  • St. Helena: $1,164,775

  • Calistoga: $642,000

Redfin calculates the median list for all of Napa County at $795K with a list-to-sale price ratio of 98%, meaning that most listings sell for asking. The gallery above confirms those prices.

Home ownership out of reach

However, the average salary for agricultural workers ranges from $9 to $12 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor.  Skilled vineyard workers command more–“$11.76 to $24.91 per hour, according to the 2013/Q1 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey from the California Employment Development Department,” writes Forbes. But although “Napa County farmworkers have the second-highest median hourly and annual wages in the state, behind the greater Bay Area,” working a 40 hour week at $12 an hour is $480 a week, or $1,920 a month, pre-tax. That’s hardly enough money to cover the mortgage on a $700,000 home.

Rents don’t offer much relief. Realtor.com data show that for a one-bedroom unit, “the average rental rate in Napa County is $2,287.” For two-bedrooms, the average rental rate “is $3,108.”

Napa’s solution

The reality is that Napa County could not exist without farm workers. Vineyards require many hands, working long hours, to function. Housing these workers then is not just the concern of the workers, but of their employers as well. According to Wine Business.com, “Napa is the only county in the United States where growers assess themselves in order to fund farmworker housing centers, where individuals benefit from lodging, meals, laundry, and recreational amenities. In 2014 alone to date, the centers have provided over 51,493 bed stays for Napa vineyard workers.”

Forbes reports that

When you’re an agricultural worker in the Napa Valley, $13 a night gets you a bed at one of three Farmworker Housing Centers. One center is located in Calistoga; a second, the Mondavi center, is located along the Silverado Trail near Yountville; and a third, the River Ranch center, is located along the Napa River in St. Helena.

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow  Anna  on  Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert

 

Article source: http://blog.sfgate.com/ontheblock/2016/01/15/with-napa-valley-real-estate-too-pricey-for-farm-workers-a-local-solution/

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