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Okay, That's It, Let's All Move to Stockton
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Pacific Ethanol | December 6, 2013
With housing prices inflating all over, is the East East Bay the safety valve?
Congratulations all around—it now seems impossible for any of us to afford to live anywhere. If it's not Oakland—where the sale price of a home shot up 56% in the last year, to $450,000—it's Noe Valley, where pranksters set up a bed on a traffic median with the sign "Outside the Box Realty." Whether its the influx of techies (excuse me, "makers"), the rising number of Ellis Act evictions, the glacial development pipeline, landlord's greed, or renter entitlement—we're not here to argue problems. We're here to argue solutions.
And that answer comes down to one word: Stockton. Or if you like, a few more. Gilroy. Vacaville. Fairfield. Santa Cruz. What's so wrong with relocating to the parts of the Bay Area you can't see the Bay from? Here's a helpful rule of thumb: If your new town has a BART station, you haven't gone far enough away yet.
Because it sure isn't the prices. Depending on what neighborhood you move to in Stockton, the average home sales price can be anywhere from $356,000 all the way to $78,000. Sure, the summer temperatures break triple digits, the schools might not be Lowell, and they have many homicides in a month that we have in a year. But just think—with all the money you save on rent, you could buy a Tesla to make your hour and a half commute in style.
You know what? Stockton isn't even that bad. KQED's Ian Hill, a Stockton native, made a strong case for the deep-water port back in 2012. His reasons? He has plenty. It's cheap, the food is great, it's as close to SF as it is to Tahoe and Yosemite, there's a thriving community in the Miracle Mile neighborhood, there's two minor league sports teams, and tons of local pride. "I'm not leaving Foreclosureville for Fog City any time soon," wrote Hill.
And if Stockton isn't your cup of tea, how about going surfing instead? Tim Jaconette, a Stanford researcher made the move from the Mission down to Santa Cruz a few years ago. "I pay the same amount in rent," he says. "But my place is much larger." It's about the same commute for him to get to Silicon Valley now, "but there's much more parking here." Basically, he says, it's paradise. "My local coffee shop has an ocean view, I can bring my laptop and drink some coffee without fighting for a place to plug in the computer."
The San Francisco housing crisis has hit epidemic proportions. It's a mass extinction. So let's take the advice of io9 editor Annalee Newitz: scatter, adapt, and remember. Face it—we're pretty much out of other options here. Make the country's highest foreclosure rate work for you. Hey you could even move to Sacramento. Here's 35 reasons to do it.