I heard from Carolyn Chase about the news that the Case-Shiller index shows home prices here are 25 percent down from the market peak.

Chase is CEO of San Diego EarthWorks and a former city of San Diego planning commissioner. I check in with her often for insight into development issues in the city, like in the recent story about Ocean Pacific Properties in Mission Bay.

Chase gave me permission to share her thoughts with you. Here they are:

Isn’t this manna for affordable housing???

I used to chide the builders for their claim that they supported more affordable housing telling them they should be careful what they ask for. I understood that their version of “affordable housing” is through the “magic” of politics where taxpayers pay builders market rates (with taxpayers dollars) for the design and construction of price-controlled housing. So it’s only the political definition of affordable housing. Like most everyone, their free market ideology ends when it turns against them.

The run-up was always unsustainable and anyone who thought about it realized it.

We saw some of this affordable-v.-market trend earlier this year with a unit in La Boheme, a North Park condo project, that was listed on the market for less than the government-subsidized units. That short sale was blocked ultimately, but with prices continuing to fall, the trend might show up elsewhere.

What do you make of Chase’s thoughts? Send me an e-mail and join the discussion.


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