Friday, September 30, 2005

"Monaco By the Bay"

There's not usually much to read in San Francisco magazine, but the July issue has a short piece by Carol Lloyd on the "Carmel-ization" of San Francisco that should ring some warning bells:

According to real estate consultant Carole Rodoni, last year nearly 7 percent of the single-family homes sold in town were not for primary residence. (In 1999 the number was closer to 2 percent.) Experts say that while most second-home buyers are from the greater Bay Area, they are increasingly coming from foreign cities like Hong Kong where interstellar prices make San Francisco seem as affordable as a subdivision in Oklahoma City. Not only is the market besieged by people looking for weekend escapes and Indian-summer haunts, many longtime city residents are moving out to country estates and keeping their residences as weekend retreats.
Rondoni cites the 2000 census that tells us that in Carmel only 42 percent of the homes are "primary residences." Lloyd notes that the city may avoid "Carmel-ization" if it can manage to produce housing affordable to the middle class. That remains to be seen, but present trends are not encouraging, since our "progressive" ruling elite seems to think that thousands of highrise condos for the rich in the Rincon Hill area represent a great trimph for affordable housing in the city.