High prices sending Bay Area renters and homebuyers to outlying communities
By Pete Carey | Mercury News | February 9, 2014 | link
Squeezed by astronomical home prices and rents that are almost as unaffordable, a growing number of Bay Area residents are pulling up stakes and trading long commutes for cheaper housing.
They’re heading to places like Tracy, Mountain House, Patterson, Hollister and Los Banos. Some are buying bigger homes and others are renting for much less, hoping to put money aside for a down payment of their own one day, in a replay of the eastward migration during the dot-com boom.
“Rentals in the Bay Area are just too high,” said Alma Gomez, an administrative assistant for Union City who’s heading east with her family.
Gomez is among the Bay Area residents who are finding themselves priced out of the Bay Area housing market, which is experiencing an employment boom that has helped drive up the cost of homes and rentals.
While the number of Bay Area residents moving to outlying counties is hard to pin down, real estate agents say the trend is growing. And that’s supported by the rapid run-up in home prices in these communities.
Gomez and her husband, Joaquin Galvez, who works in Oakland, moved with their two children two weeks ago from an apartment in San Leandro to a rented house 50 miles east, a 11/2- to two-hour commute away, in Patterson in Stanislaus County.
They looked at a three-bedroom, one-bath home in Oakland offered at $1,700 a month before discovering a four-bedroom, three-bath home with a garage in Patterson for $1,350 a month.
“The house is great, but the commute will be horrible, especially because we will have to travel with two small toddlers back and forth because of our day care being in Oakland,” Gomez said.
Linda Sendig and her husband, Christopher, both in their early 30s, are moving to a new home in Brentwood, in eastern Contra Costa County, about an hour and 20 minutes from her job in Fremont.
The Sendigs are renting out their 950-square-foot San Jose home for $2,000 a month and buying a new 3,400-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bath home for $494,000, far less than they would pay for something like it in San Jose.