Exploding San Clemente housing market

BOOMING REAL ESTATE floods the housing market in San Clemente. Photo by Jason Watkins | Triton Times

By: Sage Brislen | Writer

March 1, 2021

An ocean view is in high demand when it comes to house hunting. As well as its geography, San Clemente offers everything the suburbs boast: good schooling, low crime, and limited crowding. But these privileges remain restricted to those who can afford such prices.

Last month, the average worth of a house in San Clemente was about $1.1 million. According to real estate apps like Neighborhood Scout, more than 67% of the market is above $862,000. That’s four times higher than the national average. Even with state mandated dedication to “affordable housing,” there’s little availability.

While many residents have grown up in the area and even attended San Clemente High School since the 60’s, the gradual rise of housing demand doesn’t pose any immediate threat because most SC residents are long-time homeowners. However, without past ties to the city, outside buyers face more and more difficulty. “The people who work average jobs in this area can’t afford to buy decent homes on a regular wage,” junior Cassidy O’Toner said. “It heavily contributes to class division here.”

Many also question the social influence of such economic exclusivity, like senior Ian Riley. “San Clemente is a bubble. How can anyone growing up or even- living here expect to have a real understanding of the world if they are exclusively surrounded by wealth?” he said. He also mentioned the impact that large earnings often have on families: that the overworking associated with wealth can “disconnect” them.

Lack of affordable residency is also linked to increased homelessness in areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose. From personal experience, my immigrant grandparents have owned a house in San Jose since the late 60’s. They originally bought it at about $350,000 and is now worth roughly $2 million. The San Jose house market started growing like ours: recreationally. But the stable, wealthy population growth was immediately followed by industry. Google and large tech organizations placed some of their headquarters in the area and its workers attempting to follow, have swallowed up most housing in a shuffle of transfers. I was at their house last weekend and despite my grandparents’ aggressive “No Solicitors” sign, a man knocked on the door to ask if they would consider selling their house.

The desperation for housing and population of middle aged residents has actually transformed this once suburb into an industrial city with byproducts of increased crime, homelessness, traffic, and crippled public education. They especially have difficulty sourcing teachers who can’t afford to live in the area. This seems like the path the housing market in San Clemente is heading towards. So far, our community has made an effort to restrict overwhelming economic threats like the toll road and a Google outpost, but what happens when we refuse to fight it?

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