Bill Davidson told us a couple years back that we are out of dirt. More on that:
If you think San Diego’s housing market is strained and pricey now, what will it be like in 20 years? Yes, feel free to shudder. No one, of course, can accurately predict that far in advance. There are too many variables at play. But there is one aspect of the current housing market that would seem tough to reverse.
And that’s the ability to build.
For one thing, we have finite developable land, particularly in the city of San Diego. Secondly, a portion of our population appears unwilling to embrace density — at least in their own neighborhoods — which makes it tough on planners and builders to increase supply.
“We’ll be the Bay Area in no time,” said Borre Winckel, president and CEO of the Building Industry Association of San Diego. “We can offer very few product lines for the middle-class buyer.”
San Francisco was once a quirky, counter-cultural city that was home to a bevy of activists, artists and writers. But that city is vanishing because of sky-high housing costs. Now, only the elite can afford to live in the city and, like in Manhattan, low- and middle-income workers are forced to live further afield and make long commutes to their jobs.
San Diego is not far behind. It is already the nation’s fifth most expensive housing market, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only an estimated 25 percent of households can afford the median home price.
Even more troubling, most of the apartment units under construction are higher end, catering to wealthier millennials.
“My lament is that we’re royally screwing the housing opportunity for the middle class and young people,” Winckel said.
San Diego’s population grew by 159,000 people from 2010 to 2014, but the region added only 22,000 housing units in that time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
If that trend continues, experts predict housing prices will continue to rise.
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