Tag: renting

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Pay More For Less

Take a good, long look at the Featured Image. This apartment building epitomizes how dramatically have rentals risen in San Diego over scant number of years. Something seems wrong here—and I mean more broadly. This place merely reflects a trend in explosive increases that feels funny—fixed, unnatural—for a typically dynamic capitalist market.

I’ll illustrate. In June 2021, a 1,000-square-foot flat listed for $1,495 monthly and presumably rented, since the listing was removed eight days later. Available now for $2,325, in the same building: 530-sq-foot studio. Oh, and Zillow estimates that if the larger unit was marketed today, the landlord should charge $3,063.

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When Time Runs Out

For weeks, I have seen a sign outside one of the long-time, local University Heights businesses: Relocation moving sale. Today, I walked by and could see men working inside around fixtures, so I stopped by to ask where is the new location. There is none. Yet. Maybe never.

Commercial rents rise like insane homeless people shouting and swearing as they pull along their belongings in shopping carts. The store’s proprietor told me that his rent nearly doubled, leaving him little option other than to close up after first opening—in nearby Hillcrest—in 1974. What worse way to celebrate 50 years, eh?

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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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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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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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All The Time (Zones) in the World

What do you make of this? The area along the Kindred Hospital property in San Diego village of University Heights is a bit of a homeless campsite. Makeshift tents tucked behind utility boxes or covered bodies stretched out on grass are commonly seen. Shopping carts chock full of junk—eh, personal belongings— are navigational hazards. Weave as you walk!

A lone cart containing a time-zone map of the world made an impression for seeming so out of place by any measure. Who did it belong to? Why did he or she abandon it? Was the wall hanging free for the taking? Discarded? Forgotten? You know, the shopping cart got left behind—accidentally detached from several carts strung together.

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What Would You Pay to Live Here?

Zillow lists 30 places for rent in my neighborhood of University Heights. You are looking at the most expensive: $5,950 per month. For a rent like that, I think Manhattan or San Francisco—not a somewhat middleclass area of San Diego. But, hey, the deposit is only $5500 (plus another $500, if you have a small pet). Lucky you.

Strangely, the place is a bargain, because half-a-block distance is a $5,450 rental that may be less monthly but poorer value for the size:1,450 square feet, compared to 2,325 sq ft for the pricier property.

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If They Allowed Cats, I Just Might

The house directly across the street from where we used to live in Kensington, Md is available for rent—and for less than what the monthly increase will soon be for our San Diego apartment. My wife discovered the listing last night, and I called about the place this morning. A house. Huge yard. Just outside the Washington Beltway. The Metro-area that for both of us still feels the most like home. Alas, pets aren’t allowed.

Besides, the Featured Image is a gritty reminder that the Mid-Atlantic region most certainly has four seasons, unlike Southern California. I used Canon PowerShot S20 to make the moment twenty years ago! How coincidental: Feb., 17, 2003. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 62, 1/125 sec, 6.5mm; 9:27 a.m. EST.