I read an alarming article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal the other day (you can click this link to read it here). The article details the results of a survey and report by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a local think tank.
Among the findings:
- 71% of respondents believe the Bay Area is “on the wrong track” (up from 64% last year)
- 39% say quality of life is “much worse” than 5 years ago (but only 34% believe that about Santa Clara county)
- 52% said they’re likely to leave “in the next few years”
The top three reasons for these negative sentiments were:
- High Cost of Housing
- High cost of Living
Regarding housing and homelessness:
- 2/3rds view housing costs as a key driver of homelessness
- 75% would support building tiny homes for the homeless
- 71% support an increase in affordable housing
- 70% support seeing their tax dollars go to finding a solution for the housing crisis
But it’s Interesting to note, by comparison:
- 76% believe the nation itself is on the wrong track
- 62% believe California is on the wrong track
I’m a big fan of the Bay Area, but there’s no denying that we’re experiencing quite a set of challenges now, more so than at any time since I’ve been around. It’s no surprise that more people are choosing to vote with their feet and are making the decision to leave.
Of course, I’m an optimist. Hey, I’m a REALTOR, and nobody wants a pessimistic REALTOR, after all. I think about how New York City was basically a failed state in the 1970s and 1980s – yet they walked back from the brink, and it is a beautiful, vibrant city today.
And I have limitless belief in the people who live in the Bay Area – we’ll figure it out, I’m sure. There is no group of more talented, smart, industrious, and, dare I say it – good looking – people anywhere else on Earth.
Clearly, the biggest challenge is the cost of housing, which most agree is the key driving factor behind the curse of rampant homelessness we are inflicted with. I am gratified to see in the survey that so many people support efforts to create more affordable housing – even with their tax dollars.
However, creating “affordable housing” is tremendously challenging. NIMBYism, outdated planning and zoning, and CEQA are an unholy trinity which have worked in together for decades to get us to this place. But I do believe the tide is turning, and better days are ahead.
The housing of the future in the Bay Area is likely to look nothing like the housing of the past. Change is inevitable – and as I always say, you can embrace change, or be swept aside. With the right attitude, open minds, and a sense of civic responsibility, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to get the Bay Area headed in the right direction.