Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American dream can’t survive housing prices
Sabrina Weightman/For the Tracy Press Wednesday, 21 March 2007
A letter from Sabrina Weightman
Why can’t homebuilders fathom what affordable really means to “real people”
My husband and I are hard-working, blue-collar people. He manages a tire store and I work loss prevention at a retail store. By no means are these glamorous jobs, but they feed our two kids and we do OK. We are responsible people, and we are not, as some people have said, “riff-raff.” But we are median income, and that relegates us to renting if we wish to remain in Tracy.
As it is, we are the evil Bay Area transplants, but for the past 10 years, Tracy has been our home — and we love it. We started out living in the top floor of what is now the condemned two-story house next to the downtown parking lot on Ninth Street. The first week we lived upstairs there, we got to witness a homecoming parade from our porch and we knew then that this was the answer for us. Fremont was becoming scary, and how cool was it to be raising our kids in a place where homecoming parades still happened
But here we are 10 years later, a bankruptcy and a whole lot of Ramen later, we prequalified for a home loan, but $220,000 won’t buy a thing here. We have watched people around us enough to know better than to get into some crazy loan that will cost us everything a few years from now just so we can increase the size of the loan. We love Tracy, but are being pushed out to lord knows where. Merced, perhaps That seems to be the only place builders are building homes in low-price ranges.
Why is it our hometown cannot find a way to make it affordable for anyone but triple-digit incomes or families shoving 13 incomes under one roof
What is the builders’ answer to all of this Chop off $10,000 Whoop-de-do. The price is down to $410,000, only about double what the typical family can truly afford. My family is, according to polls and the census, perfectly “median” and yet we cannot even afford a “median” house. Or what about the other solution discussed at the city planning and council meetings — a townhouse for $299,000 Oh, great, no backyard for my kids to play in and I get to pay homeowner’s association dues, too I might as well keep renting our duplex and take day trips to the park for room to run. Sure, I am not gaining equity, but with the interest-only or negative amortization loan, I wouldn’t be either.
Homebuilders don’t care. All they care to do is sell to you and get you in the big fancy door in a big fancy negative principal loan that the mortgage firms that they work with want to sell you. How I am supposed to build my family’s future on that
Sabrina Weightman has lived in Tracy with her husband in rental housing for the past 10 years.
Comments (1)
Subscribe to this comment's feed
...written by Tammy Giardina , March 21, 2007
Amen Sabrina! You said it all and so well. We are in the exact same boat that you and your husband are in to the letter! I just want a place to call my own with room for my family. I dont need at 3000 square foot house without a back yard. I dont need fancy appliances and ridiculous upgrades just a place that I can raise my boys in the town I love so much but feel it has forgotten the natives that worked so hard to make it that city it is today.

No comments: