May 23, 2004


Holy fuckin' mother-of-god, the median price for a house in the Bay Area just broke the $500,000 mark. Personally I would've guessed high 300s, but I guess there were enough high-end sales to drag even the median up into the stratosphere. We're not talking about small-number statistics, either, as "more homes changed hands in the county last month -- 2,248 -- than during any month since DataQuick began keeping records in 1988. That figure was up nearly 44 percent from April 2003 and nearly 18 percent from March 2004."

Why the burst of home buying this spring? "Most of the people believe that chances for houses going any lower are slim and probably none,'' said Thao Dang of Century 21 Alpha, who specializes in listing homes priced higher than $1 million.

An investment with no chance of going lower? Haven't we heard this before?

Meanwhile, it's finally happening. LA is running out of land to build.

Arid high desert north of the San Gabriel Mountains is the county's last big chunk of developable open land after decades of relentless growth beyond the coastal core. In rush hour, the commute downtown is a minimum 90 minutes.

I mean, they are talking about places north of Santa Clarita, like Newhall Ranch, Castaic, and Tejon Ranch. Usually when I see those road signs I consider myself halfway gone on my way back to the Bay Area. Driving to LA every freakin' day from there would drive my absolutely insane. Another 300,000 houses there is going to turn I-5 into a congealed mess, like a fat man's aorta.

Will subdivisions keep spreading into the desert? Could Southern California become one long urban traffic jam stretching more than 200 miles from San Diego to Bakersfield?

Isn't it like that already? It would only surprise me if the scenario doesn't come to pass. The article makes token mention of infilling, etc., and it sure surprised the heck out of me when I saw light rail lines along the 210, linking Pasadena to downtown LA, but that's all going to be gentrified yuppie-villes, and they certainly won't be affordable by any stretch of the imagination. LA always seem like it's on the verge of Armageddon anyway, which is probably why it seems so attractive to so many. Death by traffic asphyxiation is a lousy way to go, though.

Posted by mikewang on 12:00 AM