We know that we’re running out of land in San Diego County – here’s a story from the VOSD about Americans going to Tijuana for real estate development.
“What is really misunderstood is that Tijuana is very important to San Diego. It’s actually where our affordable housing is,” said Shannon.
That is, working-class residents have already realized they can escape San Diego’s high housing costs by crossing the border.
More than 36 million people came through the San Ysidro border crossing in 2014, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. And the San Ysidro trolley station is also the second-most active on San Diego’s network, with about 17,955 riders daily. Given that San Ysidro is home to only 20,000 people between 20 and 60 years old, it’s a safe assumption that many of those riders come from Tijuana.
It’s an international version of what real estate agents call “drive until you qualify.” Facing unaffordability, residents fan out ever farther, trading cheaper housing for longer commutes.
In a lot of housing markets, increases in housing prices force wage increases, but that hasn’t happened in San Diego, said Erik Bruvold, president of the National University System Institute for Policy Research.
That’s partly because people can instead live in Tijuana and Temecula and work in San Diego, he said.
“Sometimes the figures for housing and housing prices in San Diego County can be a bit misleading,” Bruvold said. “They don’t help us understand how housing prices in Temecula and Baja are and how they interact with the San Diego economy.”
Much of Murrieta and Temecula were built because housing costs in San Diego pushed lower-wage residents to the area, said Greg Strangman, a developer working on a hotel project in Tijuana.
“That’s how that Inland Empire came about,” Strangman said. “And in the same way, you could have the same situation in Tijuana. It’s a shorter commute coming from Tijuana to San Diego than Temecula to San Diego.”
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