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 3:07 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 3:07 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 67°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 63°
Bits and pieces of low pressure over the next several days will give us some chances for showers and isolated thunderstorms. Albeit, severe thunderstorms will stay to the south and west of our area.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather