As first seen on Instapundit: Where could I move?
So I'm getting a little frustrated with the Bay Area real estate market, and for the first time in years I'm casting about the rest of the nation to see if there's anywhere else where I could possibly live. Here are the requirements:
Of course, Berkeley meets all those considerations. Every single last one of them. It's why I live here and not, as many people seem to think, because of the politics.
But if there's a place like that somewhere else, in which a middle class person can actually afford to buy a home, I'd like to know about it.
Berkeley is extremely expensive.
Berkeley doesn't have to be expensive, but it is, in large part because of the demand to live in Berkeley, and in large part because a lack of reasonable and well-thought out transportation corridors around the San Francisco area means a large amount of land just on the other side of the Oakland hills could very well be on the dark side of the moon--meaning that it is unreasonable for people to buy a home in the San Joaquin Valley and commute into San Francisco, though some people out of desperation have certainly tried.
Land prices are staggeringly high in all of California. The median housing price in California is pushing $500,000.00--a price that, even with the relatively higher wages in California (due to the high tech, defense and entertainment industries here) can only be afforded by around 19% of the population. And they are high because environmentalism prevents large tracks of homes from being built, environmental impact statements, environmentalists and a whole host of government syncophants prevent freeway widening which would allow someone to undertake a 20 mile commute in less than an hour and a half during rush hour, and a refusal to make investments in expanding water supplies means basic utilities becomes a royal pain in the ass to set up.
There are other factors as well; Proposition 13 (which caps property tax based on the last sale price of a property rather than the current assessed value) permits prices to simply spiral upwards without any check by private individuals who may otherwise be forced to sell out at a lower value. And of course there is the whole "California Lifestyle" thing--though honestly there are many parts of the country (Nashville, Houston, southern New Jersey) which are prettier.
But by and large all of the policies that are supported over at the Daily Kos: increased government intervention into land use and land regulation, increased spending on public transportation (which is a lot more expensive per user/transportation mile than anything else) and a socialist governmental regime at the state and local levels which use the former two to engage in "reshaping society" that has caused housing prices to jump to the ironic point that only the fat cats Democrats traditionally rail against in their efforts to use class divides to divide the voting republic can afford the utopia Democrats built.
Disclamer: I'm a fat-cat republican who owns a nice 1/4th acre home in Glendale, a suburb just spitting distance from Los Angeles--an area that may not be quite as expensive as Bezerkley, but is up there. And, unlike our friend Mr. Koz, I could--if I wanted to--buy a home in Berkeley.
(Hmmm... Contemplates buying a second house in Berkeley just because I could. Now if my stock options would only go up in value just a few bucks more a share...)