Tag: renting

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Fenced Out of Affordable Housing

My daughter rents storage space at one of the local facilities. From my infrequent trips to the place over the years, I have observed stark changes. For starters: An increasing number of people, many of them clearly employed, living out of a vehicle and storing their stuff. With the cost of housing so incredulously expensive in San Diego, these working nomads are not surprising to find. What shocks is how many more I see compared to 18 months ago.

Since a new report about residential renting released this week, I will focus on that topic and let be soaring home selling prices for another time. (If you can’t wait: “Pop Goes Another Housing Bubble” and “Simply Stated: San Diego Unaffordable Housing“.) According to Zumper, rents rose 31.3 percent year-over-year in April 2022. “As a result, San Diego has leapfrogged San Jose and Los Angeles to become the nation’s fifth most expensive city”. Ugh, and I know it’s a fact from watching rents relentlessly rise.

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The Cats of University Heights: Leo, Too

The series‘ second Leo is housemate to Wilbur, whom we met yesterday. I have only seen the ginger once, on Jan. 31, 2022, and continue efforts to clear up a surprising backlog of photographed but not yet published kitties.

About 52 percent of San Diego’s housed residents rent, and with monthly rates rising there has been tremendous turnover during the past 12 months—spurred in part by Silicon Valley tech employees relocating now that they can work at home. You can either blame or credit SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates for the migration—also explanation for fresh cat sightings.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chicken

When the Wilcoxes moved to this neighborhood in mid-October 2007, we encountered two obvious demographics: Older couples (and some singles)—many of whom lived in the same house for decades; gay couples—women more than men (who were more commonly seen in adjacent community Hillcrest). But as the real estate market bottomed out in 2011-12, a slow change blossomed into a flash flood of families with kids of age to attend Alice Birney Elementary.

But during the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, when many people started working from home and therefore no longer needed to live close to their jobs, University Heights began a rapid demographic flip. Ultra-high rents and landlords selling homes along with a massive influx of Googler-types has flushed out families and many of the oldsters. The professional Millennial makeover sweeps in and sweeps others out. Among those leaving: Owners of the kitty in the Featured Image.

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How About ‘U’ for Unaffordable

Hours following a routine visit to the ophthalmologist and dilation, my pupils are still huge and so my vision remains wonky. I can’t imagine what the Featured Image really looks like. Perhaps you can tell me. I stood in the middle of Park Blvd and used Leica Q2 to make the moment on Feb. 23, 2022. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 9:30 a.m. PST.

The sign is situated between Adams and Madison, and viewpoint is towards the latter. Around the turn of the last century, Bentley Ostrich Farm relocated to the district—hence the birds on the poles. During the same era, street cars served the community, and some of them were housed and serviced in a facility that is long gone but became the public Old Trolley Barn Park.

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San Diego Affordable Housing

The place isn’t roomy, but the architectural style is quite appealing. I hear there’s a waiting list, though. But if you like, I walk past often enough and can look for that “no” to be covered up. Here’s the thing; A little birdie told me that several crows are in the queue—and they are quite aggressive about obtaining lodging, particularly when the place is furnished and the landlord provides some meals.

Advice: Adopt a community cat from the shelter and turn him loose nearby. If the beastie doesn’t catch and eat some of the animals waiting for the place, he might scare off most of them. The residence is on Maryland Street in University Heights. Address isn’t disclosed, just in case I want to submit a rental application myself.

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Lemons and Oranges

Winter, or what I call late Summer, is when citrus trees bear luscious fruit in Southern California. Consider this lovely lemon tree that greets residents of quaint cottages along the Alabama-Florida alley. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a charming retreat, tucked away and lush?

But bring your high-paying job. Charm isn’t cheap in San Diego, given rising real estate costs. Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,095, according to Zumper (about which I am largely unfamiliar). When I last cited the company’s data, February 2021, the median was $1,810. Yikes! Two bedroom: $2,895.

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Simply Stated: San Diego Unaffordable Housing

Three residences all on the same block in University Heights define the scope of the housing crisis in Southern California. This is not a story about limited availability of units, as news media and political prognosticators regularly (and falsely) claim, but about rising prices driven by numerous market dynamics (such as emigrants or corporations paying cash) mixed with insanity that defies common sense.

The market bears what people are willing to pay and they seem all the more recklessly anxious to fall for fear-economics and the privilege of paying more, more, more.

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A Rose by Any Other Name is Gone

Following “The Tree Tragedy” that destroyed the provider of shade (for us) and food and refuge (for birds and squirrels), I was ready to give notice and move out of our apartment. One problem: In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed down the state for the entire month in response to a reported surge in SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 cases (e.g., positive tests for infection).

But Spring (e.g., Early Summer in San Diego parlance) brought more birds than any other year—many flocking to a hedge nearby our assigned parking space. Across the street, they, and other animals, used the mighty date palm as a majestic habitat. But South American Palm Weevils infested the tree, which the city destroyed in late July. The bugs are not indigenous and removal of infected palms seeks to slow their spread.

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Are You Coming, or Going?

New month, and I see lots of people moving in, around, and out of San Diego—and considerably larger numbers than any time during the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic year. Perhaps partial reopening of California and imminent lifting of the eviction moratorium (in about 60 days) are factors.

Citizens certainly are fleeing the Golden State. Crime, governance, homelessness, high housing costs, single-party politics, and taxes are among the reasons. Slowest population growth since the Great Depression era means California will lose one Congressional seat. All that said, many movers are staying in the state, and San Diego is one of their more popular destinations.

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The Bearded Tree is Gone!

And that’s not the worst of the devastation. Nearly three months ago, I wondered about the fate of the mighty palm after high winds ripped fronds from the trunk. Then, unexpectedly, on the First Day of Spring, under the direction of cute cottages’ new owners, men with chainsaws started clearcutting a lush landscape of shrubs, succulents, and trees around the buildings. The bearded tree is the last to go.

Every nearby neighbor to whom I have spoken about the destruction of the urban jungle is shocked. No one can fathom why the massive deforestation. Late this afternoon, one homeowner, who has lived in University Heights for more than two decades, told me that water can’t be the reason. He and his wife maintain a lovely backyard of flowers, plants, and trees, without wasteful watering.

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The Clearcutted Cottages

This morning, my wife rightly suggested that yesterday’s before photos aren’t enough to show just how brutal was the massacre of palms, shrubs, succulents, trees, and other green growing things before and among one of the neighborhood’s rental properties.

Compare the Featured Image to the one from the previous post. Those buildings and windows were obscured by a lush, well-tended, tropical jungle. My understanding: The pruning, and perhaps reconstruction, is planned to continue all week. That means the bearded tree to the left may also be removed.

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Before the Clearcutters Came

Sometimes changes occur so abruptly and unexpectedly in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, I regret not documenting what was—never anticipating that the thang could be gone. The tree outside our primary windows and palm at Cleveland and Monroe are examples. Today’s loss, on the inappropriately-timed first day of Spring, was catastrophic for some of my neighbors, who were reminded: renters have no say.

Calico Harley resides in a row of cute cottages that, until this afternoon, were almost completely obscured from view because of the variety of succulents and trees growing in front of the property and down the side. The well-tended, and healthy, jungle was lush and lovely. When workers started cutting down a single tree this morning, I complained to my wife about another horticultural butcher job. What I could never imagine is how devastating would be the clearcutting. For today, I refrain from showing what is. Let’s look at what was.