Turns out that the Bay Area’s dwindling supply of home for sale under $500,000 isn’t just the talk of the Bay Area.
The whole country seems to have something to say about it.
In response to our story about June’s sales of relatively low-priced properties falling 17 percent from a year earlier, thanks to the fact that fewer homeowners want to take less than a half-mill for their homes these days, scores of readers commented on the trend. Some are former Bay Area residents who lived here when the real-estate market was a lot less insane than it is today, others describe real-estate markets where they now live.
Here are some of their comments, edited for clarity and length:
“When I was a kid in 1977, I lived in a 1,200 sq. ft. home in Milpitas, CA (SF bay area) with my mom, dad, and sister. That small house is now “worth” $800K according to zillow.com. That’s pure madness.”
“Even Vallejo is becoming overpriced, you’re still looking at $300k for an old fixer upper.”
“When the service workers give up and leave the Bay Area, one hopes that this region will finally be forced to confront its housing problems.”
From “John Romig:”
“I live in Rochester NY and I own two homes. Anybody can buy a nice four bedroom house here for $45k. Including a detached garage and off Street parking. Yes, $45,000. Rochester NY has a decent city school district. Violent crimes are also way down in Rochester NY. The weather is good from April through October and then it gets cold, dark and snowy for @ five months. I am shocked by the stats about housing costs in the Bay Area. Are you guys in California getting your dollars worth? I lived in the East Bay from 2001 through 2009. I saw housing costs high in 2001, @ $800. month for a one bedroom apartment without utilities included. In central Berkeley. By 2009 the construction sector was in the toilet, so I left. I feel for the ultra wealthy: how will you find poor people to take out your garbage walk your Presa Canario, stock your fridge, clean your house, wax your Range Rover, plant fancy flowers in your trophy garden?”
“A car detailer who moved out of the Bay Area, where is he going to work? Los Banos? The demographic there is poor, how will the car detailer make any business in Los Banos where he will be charging $300 for a detail session? So he will come back to the Bay Area for work, because people here can afford $300 detail sessions. Manhattan is the same way. Paris, the same way. London, the same way. People who have money will live in the central region (SF, SJ, Oak), and the people with no money will live outside, but will come into the central region for work, because the outside has no jobs.”
“I find it so ironic that CA is a liberal bastion, so welcoming of the poor, down trodden immigrants, yet even modest homes get caught in a bidding war for more $, and you have to make well into the 6 figures just to survive.”
From “Walking Fool:”
“It’s like saying BMW doesn’t offer cars for under $25,000. You don’t have to buy a BMW you know. Buy a used Corolla. Can’t afford it here? Then move to a cheaper city or state.”
“Calexit will cause an exodus to leave before it’s too late, then housing prices might come down.”
“Looking for affordable housing in the Bay Area (for anything bigger than a postage stamp) has been a snipe hunt for years unless ‘Bay Area’ includes anything within a 2-hour commute.”
From “Mr Happy Man:”
“This article pointed to something I have realized for some time. The necessary service workers are being driven out of the Bay Area, which means it will be difficult to obtain those services when you need them. Yes, education is an important value in this area, and the well-to-do parents will want reasonable class sizes, but that isn’t going to happen unless you pay teachers a sufficient salary to buy a home – preferably a house – there. And who is a patent lawyer going to call when his toilet gets clogged? A plumber, of course. If there is one available. But that isn’t likely if one isn’t around – because he can’t afford a house in San Francisco.”
“So what is going to give? Wages of these middle-class service workers are going to have to climb dramatically – you will have to pay these workers $200k a year or so, simply for Bay Area society to function. Also, since resources are strained in California, especially water, this area is going to need to find new sources of resources. Especially water. The Bay Area is going to need massive desalination plants – whether they like it or not – to build in areas it isn’t building. To afford the necessary service workers. And the people of the Bay Area are going to need to be a bit more tolerant of development.”
“One way to think of it though – if all the residents of an area are rich, a plumber can charge way more than he could in the middle of nowhere in Ohio.”
“If you’re going to live on the other side of the bridge, then Fairfield is a far better option, and I believe possibly the last of the “somewhat affordable” options in that general area. Otherwise just move to Sacramento like many have done. I used to live in a large house with 9 rooms in El Cerrito, renting one of them, when attending Cal. One of my housemates had his own home and family back in Sacramento. He used to live there during the week, renting the room because he worked in Oakland, and went back to his family on the weekends! That’s how bad it’s gotten!”