Californians fed up with housing costs and taxes are fleeing state in big numbers

By Jeff Daniels at the CNBC

March 19, 2018

Californians may still love the beautiful weather and beaches, but more and more they are fed up with the high housing costs and taxes and deciding to flee to lower-cost states such as NevadaArizona and Texas.

“There’s nowhere in the United States that you can find better weather than here,” said Dave Senser, who lives on a fixed income near San Luis Obispo, California, and now plans to move to Las Vegas. “Rents here are crazy, if you can find a place, and they’re going to tax us to death. That’s what it feels like. At least in Nevada they don’t have a state income tax. And every little bit helps.”

Senser, 65, who previously lived in the east San Francisco Bay region, said housing costs and gas prices are “significantly lower in Las Vegas. The government in the state of California isn’t helping people like myself. That’s why people are running out of this state now.”

Read more on CNBC

This Man Wants to Build 2 Houses. California Regulations Have Stonewalled Him for 20 Years.

By John-Michael Seibler at The Daily Signal

March 16, 2018

Thomas Mahon never thought it would take 20 years to build two houses in California. But that’s exactly how long it’s taken—and his legal fight isn’t even over.

His fight shows how overregulation is driving the state’s current housing crisis. And some state politicians are promising to make things worse. The upshot is that other states can learn from California’s big-government failures and welcome ex-Californians with open housing markets.

State politicians know that building new homes is too costly, but they disagree over policy solutions. Some offer less regulation, while others promise more (including new housing quotas, more subsidized units, and reviving “redevelopment agencies” that the state eliminated in 2011 to save money). Less regulation would likely attract more investment for affordable housing, but a better bet would involve changing the state’s approach to property rights.


Read more on The Daily Signal

Rents rising faster in SLO County than anywhere else in California, data show

By Lindsey Holden and Phillip Reese at The Tribune

February 28, 2018

The cost to rent a two-bedroom home has risen more in San Luis Obispo County than anywhere else in the state over the last four years — up more than 50 percent since 2013, according to recent data.

As of December, residents here were now paying a median rent of $2,200 for a two-bedroom home, up from $1,429 in 2013, according to tracking firm

Read more on The Tribune

Proposition 13 isn’t the problem, pensions and spending are

by The Editorial Board at The Orange County Register

January 1, 2018

Not for the first time, an effort is underway to persuade voters to “reform” Proposition 13 and raise property taxes.

“The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2018” was filed in mid-December with the attorney general’s office. It aims to raise $11 billion per year by removing Prop. 13 protections from industrial and commercial properties, reassessing them based on the unrealized, paper profits from rising real estate values.

However well-intentioned the backers of this initiative may be, it is reckless to impose a massive tax increase on nearly all California businesses, simultaneously and repeatedly.

If raising taxes was the solution to every problem, California would have no problems. The Golden State boasts the nation’s highest income tax rate and sales tax rate, and we’re within an eyelash of defeating Pennsylvania for the title of highest gas taxes.

Read more at The Orange County Register

Trying – and failing – to explain away California’s high crime rate

by Michele Hanisee in the California Political Review

December 21,2017

Imagine the reaction if, after a loan officer told an applicant they would not receive a loan because of too much debt, the applicant asked “How about we just disregard 25% of my debt?”

As illogical as this sounds, it was the approach recently articulated by a group seeking to downplay the crime rate increases in California following various criminal justice “reforms.”  In a study picked up by a few newspapers, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJJ) opined that the crime rate statewide in California decreased following these reforms – if you excluded Los Angeles County.  Yes, Los Angeles County, where more than one out of four residents of California reside!

The propaganda espoused by proponents of these various reform measures is that crime is not really rising very much so long as it isn’t as bad as it was 30 years ago. They continue that trend with their attempt to manipulate the statewide crime rate increase by excluding more than 25% of the population.

Read more at California Political Review

No housing bubble in sight — and other predictions for 2018

by Katy Murphy at The Mercury News

December 12,2017

A real-estate site’s predictions for 2018 offer yet more disappointing news for would-be first-time homebuyers in California hoping that the New Year might bring some relief.

“The outlook for next year is rising prices, rising rates and rising property taxes,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “I wish I could have better news.”

Read more at The Mercury News

Kern County: Where the American dream is obtainable

by Kim Schaefer 

December 11,2017

There’s a reason homeownership is still considered the “American Dream.” A home is the best means for building wealth and a pathway to strength and stability in the communities we all call home.

Middle-class families have built wealth for centuries through homeownership and real estate investment. Homeownership allows families to protect themselves against rising rents and inflation, while offering an opportunity to build equity over time. Here in Kern County, things are no different.

For many California residents, homeownership is simply falling out of their reach. There is no denying that there is a housing crisis in California. It is difficult to turn on the television or open a paper without hearing about workers that are commuting farther and farther, contributing to traffic and pollution more than ever to have affordable housing. Many California households have no choice but to spend more than half of their incomes on housing costs. Employers have difficulty finding and keeping workers. It doesn’t appear that there is much relief in sight.

Read more here

PG&E Supports Local Communities as It Pays More Than $230 Million in Property Taxes to 50 California Counties

by 360 Feed Wire

December 11,2017

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) paid property taxes of more than $230 million this fall to the 50 counties where the energy company owns property and operates gas and electric infrastructure that serves 16 million Californians. The tax payments help support essential public services like education and public safety.

The semi-annual property tax payments made today cover the period from July 1 to December 31, 2017.

Total payments for the full tax year of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 are estimated to total more than $461 million—an increase of $50 million, or 12 percent, compared with the prior fiscal year.

Read more here

They’re leaving California for Las Vegas to find the middle-class life that eluded them

by Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times

December  3,2017

The rent steals so much of your paycheck, you might have to move back in with your parents, and half your life is spent staring at the rear end of the car in front of you.

You’d like to think it will get better, but when? All around you, young and old alike are saying goodbye to California.

“Best thing I could have done,” said retiree Michael J. Van Essen, who was paying $1,160 for a one-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake until a year and a half ago. Then he bought a house with a creek behind it for $165,000 in Mason City, Iowa, and now pays $500 a month less on his mortgage than he did on his rent in Los Angeles.

Read more at Los Angeles Times

The Great American Single-Family Home Problem

by Conor Dougherty in The New York Times

December 1,2017

BERKELEY, Calif. — The house at 1310 Haskell Street does not look worthy of a bitter neighborhood war. The roof is rotting, the paint is chipping, and while the lot is long and spacious, the backyard has little beyond overgrown weeds and a garage sprouting moss.

The owner was known for hoarding junk and feeding cats, and when she died three years ago the neighbors assumed that whoever bought the house would be doing a lot of work. But when the buyer turned out to be a developer, and when that developer floated a proposal to raze the building and replace it with a trio of small homes, the neighborhood erupted in protest.

Read more at The New York Times