One culprit often behind “housing crises” is government restrictions and costs imposed on those who would build more housing. That is certainly the case in Palo Alto, the center of Silicon Valley. From John McNellis at wolfstreet.com:
As long as local officials strangle housing starts, the mirage of affordability will be pushed further toward the distant horizon.
“A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California” — New York Times.
Yes, our housing crisis is so critical those envious bastards at The Times are proclaiming it on their front page. So critical that a local politician here is more likely to come out against world peace than affordable housing. But she’s about as likely to vote for pro-housing laws as the USA is to unilaterally reduce its nuclear stockpile.
At the 30,000 foot level — it’s pretty in the clouds — a few politicians in Sacramento are trying to pass state-wide bills to force cities to allow more residential development. Not with champagne success.
It’s less pretty in the trenches, particularly if one focuses on Silicon Valley. Ground zero for the housing shortage, the city of Palo Alto is–not coincidentally–the reigning monarch of the Lucky Location club. Thanks to the happenstance of being Stanford University’s picture frame, the town has been the spawning grounds for almost every great tech company ever.
Zillow says $200,400 is the median house price in America today. Zillow multiplies that number by 12.96 to come up with Palo Alto’s median price of $2,598,200. And even that whoa number is misleading. According to the brokerage firm of Alain Pinel, a lot in North Palo Alto–the cool part of town–goes for around $2.5 million all by itself, that is, $2.5 million before you build your dream house on it.
Is this news to anyone in Palo Alto? No. In the town’s most famous resignation letter, Kate Downing quit the Planning Commission a year ago, saying she and her husband, both well-paid professionals, could simply not afford to live there.
“After many years of trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here.” Ms. Downing pleaded with the city to make affordable housing its top priority. “If things keep going as they are…a once thriving city will turn into a hollowed out museum.”
To continue reading: “Full-Fledged Housing Crisis” in Silicon Valley, Insider View