Some thoughts about housing prices in San Jose

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A suburban development in San Jose, California.

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My husband and I had quite a few conversations about the price of housing in the Bay Area while we were down there. They were spurred by the price of a house for sale down the street from his parent’s house, where he grew up. There is nothing extremely special about the neighborhood. I mean, it’s a really nice neighborhood and has always been slightly pricier than other San Jose neighborhoods. But, really, its just a really nice neighborhood in suburbia. The price of this house was totally ridiculous for what you were getting. Want to know how much it was? Two million dollars. That would be about $18,000.00 a month for a mortagage payment. For two million dollars I would expect something with lots of land, perhaps something on the ocean, lots of square footage. AT least a pool. This house, while nice, had none of these things. It was just a really nice suburban house. A house that, in Spokane, would probably go for $300,000.00. My husband saw another house while out walking around the neighborhood. He said it had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and was around 1500 square feet. Guess how much that one was? 1 million dollars. For 2 bedrooms and 1 bath in suburbia. 1 MILLION DOLLARS.

Now, we have been having dreams that we would someday move back there because we really miss it. We were hopeful that this would, indeed, happen someday. Maybe after we paid off some bills and got on our feet a little. Now we know that, unless something drastically happens to the housing market down there, that’s not going to happen. My husband was telling me that he feels like he has been pushed out of his home. The high prices have pushed him out of the very neighborhood in which he grew up, and that he would very much like to live in. Isn’t that kind of sad? And it’s not like we are making poverty-level salaries. I mean, we both have professional-level degrees. We should be able to live there. But we can’t afford it. The high cost of housing has pushed us out of the Bay Area. It has pushed us out of the neighborhood in which my husband grew up. Think about that. I mean, looking at it on the surface one can kind of laugh at it, or be surprised, and then go on thier merry way. But when you ponder it you come to all kinds of realizations. When I drive down his street, I realize that his street  has been totally taken over by these millionaires with thier over-the-top “Monster” homes. It has become elitist. One has to be filthy rich to be able to buy a home anywhere in the San Jose area. It’s really sad for those of us who really love it down there and want to live there, and want to be able to have the security of home ownershop. And the person who is writing this is someone who has a Master’s degree. Someone who worked her ass off in college to get a good-paying job to with the intention of being able to live comfortably in a nice house that my husband and I own. In the Bay Area there is no middle class anymore. You seriously have to be rich to be able to live there.
What I want to know is who are these people who are making enough money to be able to make (at least) a $9,000.00 a month mortagage payment? And why are they wasting the money on some suburban home when they could buy something sooo much nicer anywere else? Do you know what kind of home they could get up here? Seriouly, let’s compare. This is what you get for a million dollars in Spokane. This is what you get for a million dollars in San Jose. Wouldn’t you rather have the 7 room estate rather than the 4 bedroom suburban home?

Vacation

Travel and Other Adventures
Ariolimax dolichophallus at UCSC

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We arrived in San Jose on Monday afternoon. Yesterday we drove over to Santa Cruz and spent the day there. It was weird being there again. It just all feels so familiar. I feel like I have been in an alternate universe for six months and now I’m home again. Like I’ve never left…

So first we went to UCSC to the Bay Tree Bookstore to buy a new UCSC sticker for my car. I also bought a Zen Slug t-shirt, too. I’ve wanted one for a long time. It was so beautiful on campus. The Redwood trees, the lushness of the forest, the smell of the Bay trees. It’s awesome. I’ve miss it. AND it was so nice that I actually took off my coat. TOOK OFF MY COAT! I was stoked.

Next we went to the ocean and walked around. So beatiful. I took pictures and will post them when I get back. They speak for themselves.

We drove north up the coast toward Ano Nuevo. It was just so beautiful. It was sunny and the views were incredible. I miss being able to hop in my car and drive up the California coast anytime I wanted. as we were driving I just drank it all in, knowing that I will be back in Spokane next week.
After that we stopped by our favorite hippy store, The Food Bin and the Herb Room. Raf bought some organic cookies and i got some bulk lavender lotion.  There was some lady in there buying herbs to try and heal her sinus infection.
After that we went to Pogonip to try to go for one of our favorite hikes. It ended up being too muddy so we didn’t get very far.

Then, finally, we drove down to Capitola and  walked around the village. Peeked in some of the shops, walked on the beach.

I can’t believe all that we packed into the day! Any one of the things we did yesterday would be an excursion for a single day.

Later on that evening we went to Santana Row because we hadn’t been there yet. We were in shock. A few years ago it was a shabby, empty outdoor shopping center. It is really nice now, although I don’t think I would want to live in one of the condos above the shops.

Today I went to SCU and had lunch with some of the people I used to work with here. It was so great to seem them all again!

I will try to update again this week. Will probably go to SF later this week.

States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile

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highway

Image by scot63us via Flickr

CBS News | States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile | February 16, 2005�14:00:07

“Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it’s as simple as that,” says engineer David Kim.

Seeing as how I’m living in California I thought I should comment on this article that made the news a couple of days ago. Mandrake posted on this and a “lively” discussion ensued. Thanks for directing me to the article, Mandrake.

I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. In fact, it’s giving me more incentive to move out of California. The reason why I don’t like it, especially for people living in populated areas like the Bay Area is because it is unfair to those who are not wealthy. See if you are wealthy (and wealthy in the Bay Area translates to EFFING ROLLING IN THE DOUGH, I WIPE MY ASS WITH DOLLAR BILLS WEALTHY to the rest of the country) you can afford to buy a home in the greater Bay Area where you, most likely, work. The rest of us, if we want to buy a house, have to buy one in BFE. Communities where homes are still fairly affordable. These communities are quite a distance from the greater Bay Area. I know many (too many) people here at SCU who drive two hours one way to get to work EVERY DAY.

In fact, it is quite common for most people to commute long distances to get to work here. I commute 45 mins one way. I suppose I could move closer to work, but the rent is higher in San Jose. Plus, I really enjoy living in Santa Cruz. I love my community and don’t want to be forced to move somewhere else because of a “mileage tax.”

So to sum up, my point is that the less money you have, the more likely it is you will commute a greater distance to work – thus having to pay a larger amount of taxes than those who are Rich and live closer to work.

This is my general assessment of this situation.

The Man continues to find ways to make it harder for hard working people, struggling to live the American Dream, to get by.

I don’t know if this is a Democratic idea or a Republican idea. Either way, it’s bad.