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Why Does Housing Cost So Damn Much: California's Crazy Real Estate Market, Part I

  • CLARA - The Auditorium 1425 25th Street Sacramento, CA, 95816 United States (map)


Listen to the podcast of this discussion.

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The median price for a "fixer-upper" house in San Francisco is $920,000. Sacramento is on Zillow's Top 10 list of hottest housing markets in 2017, the only city in California to make it (home prices are expected to appreciate 5 percent this year). The housing market is hot, but as California Groundbreakers can personally attest to, it's also a crazy housing market (after trying to buy a home last year, dealing with multiple offers, and bids of up to $37,500 over asking, we finally landed one, but we are still decompressing from the stress).

Yes, this is a desirable place to live, but California is woefully unprepared to house everyone, especially the vast majority of those who can't afford the state's median home price ($463,800, per Zillow). The Department of Housing and Community Development figures that by 2025, we will need 1.8 million units of new construction to keep up with our growing population. But with things like NIMBYs, CEQA and other acronyms that can throw a wrench into home construction, housing available -- and affordable -- to all seems like a pipe dream.

We're planning a four-part panel series on California's Crazy Housing Market, taking a look at why it's crazy, can it ever calm down, and what can be done -- economically, politically, and locally -- to make it easier for renters and homebuyers to afford a roof over their heads in this state.

Our first panel was a 360-degree overview of the housing market (the other three, in February and March, are about Affordable Housing, Gentrification, and the love-it/hate-it effects of the California Environmental Quality Act). We focused on the Sacramento area's real estate and rental markets -- who and what are affecting the prices, what's the forecast for 2017, will anything change, and whether renters and potential buyers should still have hope.


* Tom Bannon, CEO of the California Apartment Association

* Ryan Lundquist, a residential appraiser in Sacramento who writes the Sacramento Appraisal Blog

* Mike Paris, founder and president of BlackPine Communities, which built The Creamery and Curtis Park Village in Sacramento, and has its latest project in Folsom

* David Tanner, CEO of the Sacramento Association of Realtors

* Ling Tseng, residential and commercial real estate broker for Lyon Real Estate

* Ben van der Meer, staff writer for the Sacramento Business Journal who covers real estate, development and construction