Monday, July 19, 2004
I loved a lot about our four years or so living in Lake Tahoe, even if Avril went crazy because of the snow. We moved to Oregon in 2002 for lots of reasons but the cost of living was right up there. This article in today's San Francisco Chronicle does a thorough job of the gradual Disneyland-ification of Tahoe, where house prices have shot up 80% since 2000. Case in point -- Avril and I had an aging, cozy if small 2-bedroom house there for about $1100 a month and it was tight going; we pay $400 less now for a 3.5 bedroom house in Oregon. While I love the Sierra mountain vistas where I grew up and don't even mind the snow that much, the constant influx of smug, hectic summer tourists and the rising cost of, well, everything, chased us away probably for good. We knew there was no way we'd ever be able to afford a house in Tahoe on a journalist and book seller's paychecks; no way we'd ever be able to afford to have a kid there; no way we'd not live paycheck to paycheck. This unfortunately is the story for way too much of California these days in the zip-zip-zip world of housing. Great for those who make money from it, and heck, my own dad's a realtor. But there are a lot of have-nots, there are an awful lot of folks like me who just say forget it, and move to some state that's sane. When you can't even buy a decent house for $400,000, there's something deeply wrong with the world. I have no solutions, but it doesn't stop me being depressed about the way it all works.