Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 17, 2014

Still it rises

Filed under: Alameda, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Last night the City Council went ahead and created that Housing Cost Task Force aka understanding why rents are so high in Alameda even though they decided to remove it from the Housing Element.   Apparently staff will come back with a recommendation so I imagine that the affordable housing folks in Alameda will watchdog this promise to make sure that it actually happens.

It feels like almost every day there is yet another article about how high rents are in the Bay Area.  Yesterday SF Gate had another article talking about the rise in rents even as supply in some cities is growing.  Excerpt:

The average asking rent in the nine-county Bay Area hit $2,158 a month in the second quarter — an increase of 5.6 percent from the first quarter and 10.3 percent from the second quarter of last year, according to a survey by RealFacts.

Apparently in San Jose and San Francisco where thousands of units came on-line the average rent still went up.   The sign that the housing market is still tight is when a “slowdown” is characterized as getting only 20 applications instead of 30 or taking a “couple of weeks” to get a lease signed as opposed to two to three days.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but if you stalk Craigslists’ apartment availability for Alameda you can find one bedroom apartments with asking rents of $2079.  But that’s for Ballena Village which must be super nice and swanky because $2079 seems like a lot for a one bedroom.

Oh speaking of the Task Force, going through the public comment letters that were sent about the “rent stabilization” in the Housing Element was pretty entertaining.  Did you know that rent control inhibits development and growth in a city and that all the people sending in the form letter about not having “rent control” wouldn’t want anything to stop development and growth.  The funny thing is I’m pretty sure that some of the signatories on those letters are of the “slow growth” variety so maybe folks that want “slow growth” in Alameda should get behind some sort of rent control because according to the folks against the rent stabilization possibility once you have rent control it stops development.  Just a thought.



  1. last point is really salient Lauren. Did any letters say rent control increases traffic even though it supposedly stifles development? The thing about being ignorant is you get to have everything both ways.

    It’s all relative. Apparently tech is driving up rents in Marin. Didn’t know affordability was an issue over there.

    Comment by MI — July 17, 2014 @ 9:39 am

  2. The increase in rent in the Bay Area have been incredible, though it is the Bay Area. Everyone wants to live here. Especially Alameda. The real issue is that everything is increasing in costs, thus it makes it difficult to afford a 10% increase in rental charges. It’s also difficult to afford the cost of fruit, bread, gas, water, etc. I live a “middle class” life but I can’t imagine what lower income families do to survive. There seems to be only one objective in this country. Profit.

    Comment by Bill — July 17, 2014 @ 9:44 am

  3. Someone posted this in the comments section to MI’s article, I think it’s pretty apt in relation to Marin County’s housing woes: Report: Nation’s Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 17, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  4. Lauren the Onion is a Satire Rag…..2014 National Lampoon…..Unless of course you like to believe these articles..

    .Everyone In Middle East Given Own Country In 317,000,000-State Solution .

    Scientists Recommend Having Earth Put Down,34034/

    Comment by My eyes water from peeling the Onion — July 17, 2014 @ 10:20 am

  5. And in other news………NASA Announces Plans To Launch Chimpanzee Into Sun

    Comment by My eyes water from peeling the Onion — July 17, 2014 @ 10:27 am

  6. I think you may need this T-shirt.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 17, 2014 @ 10:48 am

  7. These days, “lower income” is starting to mean salaries of $80,000 or more. A lot of landlords have lost their minds – jacking rents and peddling junk places. $2000 for a one bedroom in Alameda is starting to be the norm and lots of long term, good community committed Alamedians are being driven out. Also, lately – some of the newbies are starting to expect to dictate what should happen in Alameda- All those folks screaming slow growth, less retail, no build and then upping their rents are going to be drowned out by all the renters who if they pay that kind of money- want the big, better shopping, more choices for everything, less mom&pop, better more developed everything, etc. that should go with it. When this bubble pops and all bubbles pop- Alameda will be changed- one way or the other. Sadly a lot of people (renters and owners) who loved and were committed to Alameda will be gone- for many, the exodus has already begun. I am not so sure that many of these people “want” to live here that much – I think that they are trying to find places to live that they can afford until they can find places to live that they can afford near their jobs. If every dime you make goes for rent- you can’t save to buy. When things soften up- they will be the first ones out the door to get closer to their work or to buy closer to their work. Am not really sure if Alameda will be better for the experience but I will wait to see (if I can hang on here).

    Comment by librarycat — July 17, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  8. We looked at Ballena Village Apt. to live in while our house was being built…and unless they have upgraded the Apts…they are the same boring 70 style apartments with white wall, plastic wood grain looking cabinets, popcorn ceilings, cheap appliances, shared laundry rooms, dirty shared hallways. The grounds are nice and they have them painted nice on the outside. We ended up renting a place in Oakland high-rise which was much nicer and cheaper.

    I lived in rent control and the thing about it once an apartment is under rent control the Landlords do very little/minimal maintenance. In order to get our hallway and bedrooms carpeting replaced, which was probably like 20 years old and tread bare in places, we had to agree to pay 1/2 the costs. His laundry machines cost like $4 to do one load and sometime were broken down. The list could go on but hopefully I made my point.

    Comment by Joseph — July 17, 2014 @ 11:50 am

  9. #8 yes rent control is much like minimum wage. At the city council meeting on Monday, Amy Wooldridge announced that rec and park fees will go up across the board to counter the rising minimum wage.
    I don’t blame landlords for trying to make more money when rents are rising and demand is high but after the tech bubble pops, renters will remember which landlords went for maximum profit and which made more moderate & reasonable increases.

    Comment by AJ — July 17, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

  10. Might want to check with planning……But I think all building permits in Alameda were going to be tripled July 15,2014…..So landlords wanting to do upgrades will pass on these costs…..Wholesale Lumber Costs are up almost triple since Jan 2008….Plus any new bond issues and new taxes just get passed onto to Renters…..

    Comment by Low Inflation — July 17, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

  11. Something off subject is else I find different is now some of these new landlords are buying a old house which was split up into Apartments and restoring them back to 1 house in their original floor plan.

    One house was recently sold is1617 Central, which I believe is one of the nicest houses in Alameda although it has been subdivided into 4 units. A company is going to restore it although it will probably take several million of dollars to do so. I believe the same company also bought 500 Central was illegally partially torn apart and partially restored somewhat, but it looks like after 10 years vacant they are working on it again. The one thing I liked about this property was the red color they painted it a couple of years ago, but it looks like they are going to repaint it brown.

    Another reason why it seems there are less rentals is because of the thousands of people who lost their house to foreclosure and are now renting.

    Comment by Joseph — July 17, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

  12. Huge Demand for Rentals

    In California, 1.2 million homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2008[1] and only 122,577 have received permanent modifications under HAMP……

    Comment by Huge Demand for Rentals — July 17, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

  13. 10. permits are expensive, but rates were adjusted in last couple years. Kitchen’s and bathrooms are sort of a flat rate about $1000 and $1500 respectively, plus bells and whistles. Pulled a bathroom permit about a month ago for $1100 and nobody mentioned pending rate hikes. To triple them in one fell swoop doesn’t sound right.

    Comment by MI — July 17, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  14. I don’t know about building permits, and I seriously doubt they were tripled in one stroke, but the permit for our July 4th block party was triple what it was in years past.

    Comment by dave — July 17, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

  15. 15. what department?

    Comment by MI — July 17, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

  16. Planning & permits, 1st floor city hall

    Again I truly doubt building permits were tripled, simply because that would have been major news.

    Comment by dave — July 18, 2014 @ 7:05 am

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