Poor Students, Rich Landlords: How Santa Cruz’s Housing Shortage Turned into a Crisis
Isabella Cook

I’ve owned in Santa Cruz for 27 years and I’m a landlord and watched our local kids edged out, and yes that is a travesty and our supervisors and elected officials should be held accountable. The problem is UCSC period. They have stressed every resource Santa Cruz has; water-cops-fire-roadway damage-traffic-parking- taking away job opportunities and housing from local born & raised native youths, you name it and UCSC is the root, because I remember Santa Cruz before UCSC came and changed it for the worse.

But to address the housing; the Bay Area tech boom has been a huge supply of cash & raised the medium home price through the roof because of supply & demand and also sent home seekers farther in search of something to buy. But with Google, Yahoo, Cisco etc running out of Bay Area housing they now bus their employees to and from the Monterey Bay Area assisting them with grabbing any housing they can get their hands on, they want to keep the employee.

But do you know how much a house payment is in today’s market with taxes on a million dollar home and everything it takes to keep it? Assuming the buyer puts 20% down on that 3 bedroom home ($200,000 of hard earned cash), the monthly nut the home owner needs to find is between 6 to 10k MONTHY to keep all the bills paid!! Now to offset that they rent a room or two, well if your going to school here then you can divide into that number. Now I have strangers in my home that dam sure don’t care about it like I do (the person that put $200K out), so I have to add a few bucks into the overall rent to cover repairs, a possible Attorney and the person that skips out on paying, renting anything is a business not a charity. Furthermore if I build something small to rent with permits, those permits can cost in excess of 30K not including the cost to build, expensive wouldn't you say? I need to make that money back or it’s not worth it.

The short of it is; if you can’t go get an education in Fresno, Reno, Kansas, and have to go to the school in an area that has the highest home prices and cost of living where people slave on highway 17 risking their lives to make the house payment then all I can say is line your pockets &prepare yourself, but don’t whine. One of my kids wanted to go to NYU, I said I can’t afford it and neither can you, but we did find a good school that is affordable all around. What I’m saying is; if you can’t afford it after you research it, and it looks like it’s a struggle don’t do it, but don’t blame it on the landlords, we pay some pretty big bills living here as well.

Lastly; the housing bubble in Santa Cruz will not cease in my lifetime and probably not yours. The Bay Area is one of the number one places to live in the world, and if you could have your choice (where a lot of people do) you’d live by the water making Santa Cruz one of the most desirable places to call home. Even during the economy crisis the land values here stayed pat. So find a cheap place to go to school & live, make a bunch of money and then come back prepared to live in one the best places on Earth, and even then it will be a struggle.

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