Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 18, 2017

What housing problem?

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Just in case the housing problems in Alameda and the Bay Area weren’t bad enough then comes articles like this to make you feel really good about housing affordability round these parts.

The title: A Silicon Valley down payment could buy you an entire house in much of the U.S.

It does apply to the East Bay too if you’re wondering.

In the San Francisco metro area (which includes San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties), the situation is similar. The average buyer must set aside 180 percent of annual income to come up with 20 percent down. The median income is $91,777; the median 20 percent down payment is $164,920; and the median home value is $824,600.

Compare that to the nation as a whole: The average American homebuyer has to set aside the equivalent of two-thirds of his or her annual income to make that 20 percent down payment.

And this is even more disheartening:

Around the region, it has “become more difficult to buy a home now, a first home,” said Margaret Garber-Teeter, an Alain Pinel agent based in Walnut Creek. “Unless they’re earning a top-tier income, they’re getting help from somebody or something, whether inheritance, stock, or getting money out of some other piece of real estate — somehow they’ve been given a lump sum of money.

“Two teachers,” she said, as an example, “they can’t buy a house unless somebody helps them.”

Despite the housing issues faced by practically everyone who didn’t have the opportunity to buy housing 20 plus years ago or those with very deep pockets, some folks in Alameda think that the housing issues can magically be solved by doing absolutely nothing.

Last night, during an agenda item to extend amend to DDA for Alameda Point Partners we were treated to the most disingenuous arguments against extending the DDA from community members who warned about luxury housing not serving local Alamedans and instead needing “workforce housing.”

Naturally the only person who voted against extending the DDA was Trish Spencer who threw out some word salad that only made sense to those that justifying a reason to not want development at Site A.



  1. If you want to live near your kids and grandkids in the next thirty to forty years then we’d better build housing at every price point and slowly convert our non historical housing to taller, denser and energy efficient homes. I support policies that result in the greatest numbers houses built as long as they include subsidized affordable housing.

    Comment by Angela N Pallatto — January 18, 2017 @ 7:45 am

    • Good point about wanting to keeping families together, locally. It is a shame when nephews have to move to their families out to Manteca just to buy their own piece of The Dream.

      Comment by CD — January 18, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

  2. I don’t know if they can ever build enough housing in Alameda to drive prices down much. It’s just too desirable a location. Most often it’s economic or natural disaster that does that, which nobody wants. Many Baby Boomers (especially those forced into early retirement by a job market that does not look kindly on those over 50) who still own property want prices to stay high so when they do sell, the money they make will help fund their retirement. Keep in mind, even if you “make” a million dollars on your house, taxes take a chunk of that, and if you live another 20 or 30 years, that might not be enough.

    With the recent changes in Washington, people are not so sure there will be any Social Security or Medicare when their turn comes around either. Our recent election is evidence that the scales have been tipped toward the “every man for himself” philosophy, at least for the time being. It’s not a good thing but it seems to be the reality we’re dealing with.

    Relocation is not a bad option. My husband and I used to think we’d never want to live anywhere but Alameda but we’ve changed our minds about that. In our case, we have lots of friends and family in other parts of the country and grew up back east so maybe it’s easier for us. We’re looking seriously at the Lehigh Valley in PA. It’s close enough to commute to either NYC, NJ, or Philly for work but the prices and taxes are still low. It’s gorgeous in spring and fall and the winters aren’t too bad there. My point is, those who really despair of ever being able to buy a home should not rule out relocation. Alameda is a wonderful town but it’s not the only wonderful town in America. Don’t convince yourself you couldn’t be happy any place else, especially if it means that you’ll be a lot better off financially elsewhere. Like it or not, money is becoming more and more a factor in how well we survive the coming days.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 18, 2017 @ 8:45 am

  3. Here’s where I grew up. House looks about the same. Lot cheaper back then, though.

    Comment by jack — January 18, 2017 @ 9:32 am

    • Never have a seen such a perfect match between structure and landscaping!

      Comment by CD — January 18, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

  4. The jobs are in the bay area and we have a world class economic engine. If every California city makes the most of its infill housing obligations and adds density to existing housing, we can create enough inventory to have a functional housing market. It’s not just about Alameda. It’s about the whole state fulfilling its obligations.

    Comment by Angela N Pallatto — January 18, 2017 @ 10:05 am

  5. There are about three times as many people in the New York metropolitan area than there are in the Bay Area, so I think they have a few jobs there, too. Also, the age discrimination isn’t nearly as bad.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 18, 2017 @ 11:22 am

    • one bedroom condo or coop apartment in Brooklyn goes for $500K.

      Comment by MI — January 23, 2017 @ 9:51 am

  6. And New York’s mayor has pledged to build 200K housing units by 2024. The jobs in the New York metro have a proper residential building response. The Bay Area’s job boom has no such response.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 18, 2017 @ 11:41 am

  7. You assume that everyone had a mobile job that can be done anywhere. The bay area is full of specialized companies that can’t be found anywhere else. Trekking folks to move is an ignorant notion that pisses the need for housing to other cities and ignores the fact that urban centers Acura the nation are having the same problem.

    Comment by Angela N Pallatto — January 18, 2017 @ 11:52 am

  8. The relevant data are in the post above: incomes and house-prices. All the stories from old-timers about how they had to exercise extreme virtue to scrimp and save to get a house, and if only those flaky young people did the same they would be fine, miss the point: it is objectively harder to afford housing in the Bay Area than (a) elsewhere and (b) it used to be. This is of course a regional problem, but Alameda is a part of the region. Balkanized government means it’s been very hard to get regional action.

    Comment by BC — January 18, 2017 @ 12:08 pm

    • This ^

      Comment by BMac — January 18, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

  9. This must make you mad.

    Some people just aren’t doing their fair share. Building one house too big to actually use, instead of a whole bunch of small ones. Should be illegal in this Nanny State.

    Comment by vigi — January 18, 2017 @ 1:40 pm

    • Nobody is saying rich people can’t build giant houses. We are saying moderately wealthy people shouldn’t be able to prevent their neighbors from building and purchasing affordable homes in their communities. Property rights.

      Comment by BMac — January 18, 2017 @ 4:34 pm

  10. First: The recent Ghost Ship tragedy in Oakland showed that cities are unable or unwilling to assist or protect low income people looking for housing. Second: This is earthquake country. Maybe density should not be our goal.
    Third: This all happened under Obama’s watch over the last eight years, not Trump’s.

    Comment by Captain Obvious — January 18, 2017 @ 4:29 pm

    • non sequitur of the week award!

      Comment by BC — January 18, 2017 @ 4:46 pm

  11. The federal government hasn’t stopped residential housing building. Local elected officials and NIMBYs have.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 18, 2017 @ 4:32 pm

  12. Frankly, Bayport, if the leftist had had their way wouldn’t exist. East housing would have been the Lauren’s dream. Too bad…

    Comment by jack — January 18, 2017 @ 6:50 pm

    • sorry Jack, I’m a real lefty from the West End and I helped get Bayport approved.

      Comment by John P. — January 18, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

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