How San Diego housing got so expensive

The first thing Whitney Dickerson does when she gets home from work each evening is make a cup of her favorite tea....

Posted: May 14, 2018 4:07 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 4:07 PM

The first thing Whitney Dickerson does when she gets home from work each evening is make a cup of her favorite tea.

It's because her job as a veterinary technician can be stressful.

"Everyday I go in and I don't know what's going to go through those doors," she said. "It could be a really emaciated animal with severe mange, it could be a really happy lab coming through."

But Dickerson's angst doesn't end when her shift is over. She's living paycheck to paycheck, and has moved seven times in her six years in San Diego just to find a rent she can afford.

She's now splitting a two-bedroom apartment in Talmadge, which goes for $1,874 a month. She's not sure how much more she'll be able to afford.

"I feel like the city's slowly pushing me out," she said.

Now, the rent's getting so high that it's near a tipping point for thousands of San Diegans. More than half of those who responded to a recent 10News Union-Tribune scientific poll said they'd seriously considered leaving California in the last year.

The average rent is now $1,887 a month, up 8 percent from a year earlier, according to Marketpointe Realty Advisors. And CoreLogic reports the median home price in the county is now about $550,000.

"That's a problem for everybody, and I think everybody feels that," said Rick Gentry, who heads the San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees affordable housing in the city.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Gentry describes something of a perfect storm when it comes to housing in San Diego -

1) There's not enough housing for the middle class.

2) There aren't enough resources for low-income individuals.

3) The current market has already swallowed up the glut of homes built during the housing bubble before the market crashed in 2008.

"And that means the marketplace has gotten that much more expensive and that much tighter," Gentry said. "There's no place to move to."

Gentry added turnover has declined drastically at the 3,400 affordable apartments the commission manages, and the section 8 voucher waiting list has ballooned to 80,000.

Plus, San Diego County continues to grow with more jobs - employers added 27,000 new payroll positions in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, developers in the county only pulled permits for 10,000 new homes.

"It takes a long, long time to get approvals for buildings to put new product online," said Mark Goldman, a real estate lecturer at San Diego State University. "There are more and more impact fees that makes it more expensive, there's a limited amount of land to do it."

Goldman said it's a very complicated, risky business to start with a piece of vacant land and try to put a lot of housing on it.

He said the amount of time that it takes given environmental review, regulations, and delays raises the cost of projects - to the point that some developers just drop it.

WHAT WILL SOLVE THE CRISIS?

There is movement in the works to spur development, including a region-wide plan to encourage development along transit routes. The city of San Diego also recently approved streamlining complexes with microunits and fewer parking requirements in these areas.

The state also has a new law that allows the Housing Commission to make loans for the development of multifamily complexes that are affordable to middle income earners.

But until the prices come down, renters like Dickerson will be bracing for when their leases end.

"If they go another $200-$300 like a lot of places are doing," she said, "I'm probably going to have to move again."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
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Johnson23727418
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Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
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Whitley529354
Steuben501768
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Jefferson474492
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Wells389884
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Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
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Randolph317190
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Starke282864
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Jay257038
Perry254152
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Rush237030
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Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
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Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1390015

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1541781574
Cuyahoga1361632341
Hamilton989691326
Montgomery681371161
Summit569981051
Lucas51769869
Butler48139663
Stark42350983
Lorain32165539
Warren30497338
Mahoning27564643
Clermont26081297
Lake24873422
Delaware22600147
Licking20818246
Fairfield20789223
Greene20667275
Trumbull20378516
Medina20178290
Clark18235332
Richland16749236
Portage16442231
Wood15973209
Allen14405261
Miami14063261
Muskingum12976155
Wayne12234244
Columbiana12046242
Tuscarawas11248271
Marion10935150
Pickaway10642129
Scioto10585127
Erie9888171
Ross9648177
Lawrence8967125
Hancock8637143
Ashtabula8509187
Geauga8272156
Belmont8262188
Jefferson7736175
Huron7566131
Union743951
Washington7396126
Athens712065
Sandusky6984135
Darke6884137
Knox6839122
Seneca6533137
Ashland6078115
Auglaize596888
Shelby5845104
Brown578272
Mercer565890
Crawford5591117
Defiance5579101
Madison552171
Highland550982
Fulton543583
Clinton535781
Logan520587
Preble5123111
Putnam4909107
Guernsey487664
Williams469982
Perry464454
Champaign454964
Ottawa443584
Jackson436663
Pike400745
Morrow398251
Coshocton393669
Fayette385053
Adams371575
Hardin367570
Gallia356658
Holmes3326111
Henry331869
Van Wert321471
Hocking312370
Wyandot286058
Carroll267052
Paulding247443
Meigs223042
Monroe193149
Noble174442
Morgan170329
Harrison161741
Vinton141919
Unassigned05
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