Not that housing in California defies logic but consider this tale of a home that went on the market in San Francisco back in February 2015. Located in the city’s Outer Sunset District, the four-bedroom home was listed at $799,000 – a bargain by local standards (in April, the median asking price for a San Francisco property was a shade under $1.01 million). Why the discount?
California’s housing prices are the 2nd highest in the country (second only to Hawaii); according to Zillow, Californian home values and rental prices are roughly 2½ times and 1½ times, respectively, the national averages. Homeownership is a signifier of upward economic mobility, but many Californians cannot afford these daunting prices.
The California political establishment has passed the Fitzgerald Intelligence Test – that’s the author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who in 1936 had this observation: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
For more than a quarter century after World War II, the "California Dream" was real. California was the Promised Land to millions of middle-income households who moved here from all over the country. They were attracted by unmatched weather.
Serious students of California’s housing woes may recognize the middle part of this column’s headline. It’s also the subtitle of 101 Steps to Better Housing, The California Housing Plan 1982, a document now over three decades old. Produced by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the publication proposes solutions for many issues the Golden State still struggles with today.