Everybody Wants to Live Here

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Lori Weisberg has the story today on the continuing exodus of San Diegans fed up with the high cost of living here.

According to Census Bureau figures, for the fourth year in a row, more people moved away from San Diego than moved to it.

I think I’ll print this one out and show it to every Realtor who answers, “Everyone wants to live here. Or, This is San Diego,” after I’ve questioned the absurd sticker price on the house they’re trying to sell me.

The article makes a couple of other interesting, if disturbing, points:

1. San Diego is becoming the Los Angeles of 20 years ago thanks to our city’s ranking as the eight-biggest loser in the country in domestic migration. Increases in our population are caused primarily by births and immigrants.

2. Some people are just starting to figure out that affordable housing is the problem. Hans Johnson, a research fellow with the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California, is quoted as saying, “We’re also starting to see that (the shortage of affordable housing) is important not just for lower income households but also for college graduates,” he said. No kidding Hans?!

The reason I’m so inflamed about housing prices in San Diego — aside from the obvious fact that I want to own a home — is that a society in which only 9.4 percent of the population can afford a median-priced home is not a healthy society. The situation is bad for businesses who struggle to attract workers whose money will stretch much further in places like Dallas or Atlanta. And before you offer up San Diego’s mantra — But then you have to live in Dallas or Atlanta — consider that people who live there like it well enough and they don’t have to do financial gymnastics to own homes there. And if companies can’t attract great workers they’ll just move to Dallas or Atlanta or someplace like them where their own cost of living is lower.

CATHERINE MacRAE HOCKMUTH

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