Tag: housing

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Live at Winslow?

Opening of the 379-unit apartment building—along Park Blvd between El Cajon and Meade—continues to reverberate across my neighborhood of University Heights and nearby Hillcrest and North Park. Winslow’s rentals reset the comparative market rate—a term that I loathe—that other landlords would use to charge their tenants, exiting or new, more.

Another impact is the building, which fills one full block and dramatically changes the character of that stretch of Park Blvd. The residential complex, and other newer multi-unit structures, also increase congestion and traffic—oh, let’s not forget competition for parking spots.

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Now That’s Frightening

Welcome to another blast from the past. I captured the Feature Image on this date in 2012, using Galaxy Nexus, which was codeveloped by Google and Samsung and manufactured by the latter company. Vitals: f/2.75, ISO 50, 1/115 sec, 3.43mm; 3:40 p.m. PDT.

Location: Monroe, between Cleveland and Maryland, in University Heights. The property is good measurement of San Diego’s changing housing market. The place sold for $520,000 in June 2011. The family living there moved to a larger home and put this place on the market, where it went for $617,500 in September 2013.

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The Most Unaffordable City

San Diego is too prestigious a place. In July 2023, rents exceeded San Francisco. Yikes! Last month, the median-selling price for residences (houses and more) topped $1 million. The city earns yet another distinction: U.S. News & World Report has crowned San Diego as “#1 in most expensive places to live”. Uh, yeah.

Los Angeles is second; broadly, California cities capture seven spots in the top ten. Oh joy. I marvel at how suddenly—catastrophically—was the transition from, quoting the motto, “America’s finest city” to America’s most unaffordable place to live. Four years ago, food, sundries, and housing cost so much less.

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Sixteen Years Ago Today

On Oct. 15, 2007, the Wilcox family arrived in San Diego from the Washington, D.C.-metro area. Within days, I began to understand the character of Communist California Culture and regret relocating. But we came to assist my aged father-in-law, so that he might maintain freedom to live in his apartment, which he did until passing away there at age 95 in January 2017.

My wife and I talked about returning to the East Coast almost immediately after her dad’s death. But our only child (an adult, by then) was attached to Southern California, and she wasn’t ready for us to leave her. We stayed—or shall I say overstayed—our time here. San Diego has changed all too much in terrible ways—almost all brought about by state and/or local mandates.

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The Winslow at Night

University Heights’ biggest, newest apartment complex—with 379 units—is anything but affordable housing. Rentals at the Winslow start at $2,400 for a 484-square-foot studio and go up to $5,945 for 1300-sq-ft apartment with two bedrooms and baths. San Diego officials propagate the myth that building more residences will decrease housing costs and therefore increase availability across lower income brackets.

But the opposite is reality: As newer complexes open, higher rents go with them, lifting the so-called “market rate” that other landlords watch as measure for what they charge their tenants. More is more, meaning rents rise with the new builds raised.

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Housing’s New Selling High is a Low Blow for San Diego

In July 2017, when we were home shopping, I started to monitor—and occasionally write about—the local housing market. The next month, countywide, median price for a single-family residence reached $610,000, according to San Diego Association of Realtors. Fast-forward six years and $1,025,000 is median, according to SDAR, which released the data yesterday.

By my quick math, that’s a 68-percent increase, which makes homeownership an outstanding investment for anyone owning before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns in early 2020 or increased interest rates this year and last. For anyone else not fairly wealthy, the choices are rent, move, or live on the streets—something of an increasingly common lifestyle.

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Big, Possibly Temporary, Win for Single Family Homeowners

Today, San Diego Planning Commission unanimously approved Housing Action Package 2.0, which further eases development and redevelopment of properties to increase population density (real intention versus stated objective of creating more affordable housing).

But, the most controversial portion, which had garnered protests for and against, stalled: California State Bill No. 10, which became law last year. Localities choose whether to adopt the provision, which would essentially enable eradicating portions of single-family neighborhoods for the construction of up to 10-unit residences on as little as a single lot. Location must be in a “transit-rich area”, which is a bit misleading. According to the bill, that “means a parcel within one-half mile of a major transit stop” (e.g., city bus).

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Thinking About Moving?

Anyone not battened down with an exceptionally good-paying job or affordable home ownership should be thinking about fleeing from San Diego. My wife and I talk about doing so every day—not nearly but with certainty every. Rents rocket and home prices are beyond escape velocity.

According to Zillow, the city ranks third nationwide for highest average rents—behind New York and ahead of San Francisco. Yikes! Point2 crunches home prices, and you’ll need binoculars to see how high they are. Among the 30 largest U.S. cities, San Diego ranks fourth for the number of listings above $1 million (58.6 percent). Median home price: $910,000.

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The Winslow

Sometime soon, I will share more about the evolution of the apartment complex that now occupies the property where was New Vision Christian Fellowship. I remember when families and old folks lined up for free food Fridays. Now the church’s former location is a cathedral for, according to promotional material, a “truly timeless, amenity-rich living experience”. Oh yeah?

The massive, block-long mixed-use structure, Winslow, packs in 379 apartments, which will lease in staggered fashion over the coming months. At a time when San Diego touts new buildings like this one as being the forebears of more affordable housing, Winslow rental prices sure make me wonder how.

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San Diego Rents Exceed San Francisco

Holy doggie do-do, Batman. San Diego reached another shocking milestone in the housing market. Average rents are higher than San Francisco and rank third among American cities. No wonder homelessness rises across the county. Crapola, this stinks—for us peons. Landlords likely feel differently, eh.

Zillow has the skinny in its June 2023 rental report, which observes that “the most expensive major market is San Jose, where typical monthly rent is $3,411, followed by the New York City metro area ($3,405), San Diego ($3,175), San Francisco ($3,168), and Boston ($3,045)”. Maybe you don’t see $7 as all that meaningful, but SF is notoriously known for being a pricey market for housing. Not San Diego.

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The Caustic Costs of San Diego Housing

Some posts need little explanation, because the numbers so clearly speak for themselves. Based on a report from a Chamber of Commerce, the median annual income in San Diego is $66,536. The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom residence (presumably apartment): $2,543. Based on a “rent-to-income ratio of 30 percent”, the yearly salary necessary for that same flat: $101,720. Ah, yeah.

That’s an income shortfall of $35,184. Stated differently, that median one-bedroom costs $30,516 over 12 months. And that ignores other intangibles that jack up the cost of living. How much? San Diego ranks No. 1 in U.S. News World Report’s list of the “Most Expensive Places to Live in the U.S. in 2023-2024“. Hell, what an honor!

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Where the Crane Flies

Remember this: “The Teardown“, from February 2022? Where was a home and a few trendy shops, another multi-unit monument to more unaffordable housing rises along Park Blvd between Howard and Polk. By the strictest map boundaries, the location is in the community of University Heights. But because of zip code, someone will claim San Diego’s Hillcrest.

Vantage for the Featured Image is parallel street Georgia. I count four stories and rising. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/8800 sec, 70mm; 2:22 p.m. PDT, today; Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.