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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Community Post: Mortage Collapse Hitting SB County?

I received the following email from an avid reader who put words to something I've been thinking about for a few weeks and wanted to tackle after the election. So, here's something to think about today and I've been working on something else for an couple days from now. Perhaps someone could explain the foreclosure process and what the data on this web site means? -- Sara

Community Post from an Avid Reader Below:

The mortgage lending collapse isn't just a problem for investors and bankers who suddenly find they've lost a gazillon dollars. While a handful of CEO's will be forced to slink off under their golden parachutes, thousands of real people may be losing their homes in our county.

I just found 2,963 foreclosures listed in our county on http://www.foreclosure.com/search/CA_083.html

Can this be true?

Are almost 3,000 people losing their homes? If so, we've got a bigger economic disaster brewing here than San Diego County had in terms of wild fire destruction.

What does this mean to the county? What will happen to all these working families? Are we supposed to blame them? Are they just a write off for investors?

Why isn't this news?

Labels: ,

54 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it okay if those losing homes because they speculated and violated every common sense lending principle now offer their houses for more affordable prices when they are now forced to bail?

Let's not assume those losing their homes are innocent mom and pop single family owners. Many of them are greedy multiple home flippers who deserve what they get.

11/07/2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

Ya gotta love how anonymous says "let's not assume" and yet makes a series of claims that are mere assumptions.

11/08/2007 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look a little closer at this web site. They don't list the actual street addresses. The are trying to sell a list. These could be the all foreclosures from the last 20 years. Thats why this isn't news. This is how rumors are started.

11/08/2007 5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea to 11:11 anon-----------hopefully these foreclosures will send the speculators back to Riverside or Kern Counties where they belong........and the greedy north county developers---did anyone say Dave Cross or Harrell Fletcher?---will be forced to temper their quest to pave over farmland for homes that no one can afford...

11/08/2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever happens, the loose lending practices were a far more important source of the local housing price runup than were all the reasons no-growthers spew.

We are a beautiful place, we have relatively good schools and relatively little crime (well, discounting our recent gang trouble). But those effects do not explain the tripling of local housing prices in the last 10 or so years... think for a second, all those positives were here for the last 40 years at least, and housing prices did not shoot up like the last 10 years over most of those 40 years.

Loose lending fueled our runup.

What really burns me is thinking of all the puritanical values that no-growthers spewed at affordable housing meetings: they'd say you just have to be parsimonious and smart, and you too could buy the $400,000 home priced at $1,200,000 in their neighborhood (BTW, the speakers usually had bought their home for $35,000 in 1975 and have a tax assessment of $98,000).

In reality, there is no way normal folks on normal incomes can buy houses at the inflated local prices, and the real source of the runup was commodotization of the loan industry: investors in Germany and Singapore bought bundles of US home loans, on promises of an eternal bubble. I don't care one bit about foreign speculators, let them lose.

Now that the bubble has started to burst: GOOD. More families will be helped by lower housing prices in the future than will lose by foreclosure now.

And if China gets smart and stops buying US Treasuries, causing a further run-up in US interest rates to attract money back to the US? GOOD. GOOD. GOOD. The loose money (low interest rate) policy of our Fed will otherwise lead us to bigger disasters. Heck, even the Mexican Central Bank increased interest rates recently. That our Fed is not a conservative as Mexico's says it all.

11/08/2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous christine said...

I recieve the Santa Maria Times, and there are new foreclosures everyday printed. Most of them are for the $300,000 to $400,000 range- while if you read the NewsPress run foreclosures- they are either for $700,000 to $900,000,. It is interesting to read them- you would be suprised to see the names...

11/08/2007 8:41 AM  
Blogger artuzi said...

Lots of lunacy in these previous posts.

The local spike in foreclosures is nearly all in the north county and very little exists where the $1,200,000+ homes are located.

This "suspect" financing did allow people to actually afford to buy homes in this county.

Yes they may have been foolish to assume they could be bailed out by continually rising prices, but it did give them some hope where there had been none

If anyone thinks the mortgage crisis will cause significant reduction in local home prices, they will be sorely mistaken.

High prices in Santa Barbara will continue simply because there is an unusually high and constant demand for housing here.

So many people throughout the entire world are looking at Santa Barbara for a home be it a primary home or a secopnd or third home

That demand will not soon wane unless the beauty and wonderful ambiance here also wanes.

There is no housing "bubble" popping here, only some slight leakage.

11/08/2007 8:42 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"No Honey, I forgot to mail the mortgage payment...Can you stop at the toy store on your way home and pick up more Aqua Dots?"

11/08/2007 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Fred & Lamont Sanford said...

Thank you Anonymous 5:34AM for immediately putting this in perspective. This list could possibly include every tax lien and default notice filed in the county for several years. So let's not play with matches here.

Also anyone who understands the real estate market also understands that anyone who actually loses a home here either probably shouldn't have gotten the place to begin with, and/or simply is a deadbeat, (like Lamont's good friend Rollo.)

Nobody, especially the Government, should have "sympathy" for those who are effectively renters. (Low or no money in / teaser rates to qualify / etc.) If anyone actually deserves relief, it should come out of the pockets of the brokers who put the deals together. Locally, the courts generally deal with those matters well.

11/08/2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look more closely at that list, it's not all houses in foreclosure. Most of them are tax liens (usually meaning they're late paying their property taxes) or are bankruptcy or preforeclosure, which means they're not losing their houses yet (or at all).

The numbers will, of course, grow, but saying there are 2,963 foreclosures is overstating the problem quite a bit.

11/08/2007 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to feel sorry for the people in foreclosure. I'm sure there are some who are so arithmetically-challenged that they did not understand the most basic facts about their mortgage, but that must be a very small percentage of the people that are losing their homes. Most were gambling on rising home values--and the bubble had to end somewhere. They lost that gamble.

What makes this cycle of foreclosures so unbelievable is that the normal triggers that might increase one's mortgage payment were non-existent. Interest rates for 10 year notes, the basis of mortgage lending these days, did not go up in the past few years. So people on adjustable mortgages are paying the minimum one could expect to pay if they read the mortgage documents. It's hard to imagine what would have happened with foreclosures if interest rates had actually gone up and increased mortgage payments beyond the basic built-in adjustment after the teaser rate ended.

The way this would play out in a fair world is that the lenders would be stuck for every cent of defaulted payments because they made the loans to people who were unable to pay the increases that were guaranteed to come. Any type of bailout for the lenders is unfair to taxpayers and just encourages similar behavior in the future.

If lenders can't make make good loans, and if borrowers can't understand the absolute basics of the mortgage agreement, neither one should be involved in a mortgage contract. It's hard to feel sorry for either group, and it's even harder to believe that taxpayers should help out either one.

11/08/2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

It is news, Sara, and the economic disaster is country wide:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=ar909uO1CqHw&refer=home

"The surge in foreclosures has cut the value of securities backed by mortgages and led to more than $40 billion of writedowns for U.S. financial institutions. It also reached to the top echelons of the financial services industry."

11/08/2007 3:28 PM  
Blogger Saint Barbara said...

I've been asked to comment here, and I've summoned my cat Hemingway to assist in this effort, since no fewer than seven toes are required to finger those responsible for what is generally conceded to be a richly valued housing market--even along the South Coast--born at least in part by imprudence.

Culpability may be assigned in roughly equal measure as follows (listed here in random order):

1. Mortgage brokers and lenders (and their appraisers)
2. Real estate brokers and agents
3. Sellers and buyers
4. The Federal Reserve Board and federal regulators
5. Wall Street and the investment banking community (including the rating agencies)
6. Too-willing purchasers, foreign and domestic, of bundled collateralized debt obligations issued by 5 above
7. Frank Hotchkiss (hey, why not kick him while he's down?)

Cheers,
Saint Barbara
Santa Barbara Housing Bubble Blog

11/08/2007 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good rant, 7:09.

We spend trillions on wars, privatize everything in sight (let's use former Marines who are now Blackwater guys at $1,000 a day to guard our State Dept. personnel instead of current Marines), cut income taxes, run up astounding deficits and national debts, outsource as many jobs as possible to 3rd world sweatshops, accrue impossibly lop-sided trade deficits, import illegal immigrants to exploit instead of paying reasonable wages to American workers, and then instead of facing the economic consequences drop interest rates to practically nothing in order to mask the fiasco over the short term - with the added perk of compounding these low interest rates with sub-prime mortgage scams to re-direct money from naive or just plain dumb home buyers to unscrupulous loan vendors. Then we manipulate data that is probably baseless to begin with to demonstrate that inflation is minimal, ignoring the common sense observation that prices for things like fuel, higher education, food and water are skyrocketing.

This isn't what they teach in Econ 101, is it? Who is in charge here, anyway?

11/08/2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with Artuzzi... Goleta condo's are not selling, and pricess are falling (when a sale actually happens) and people are filing for property tax assessment revisions downward.

Maybe Montecito will not fall much (then again, it will if we go into a true recession).

But the vast market of homes for normal folks already is bursting and deflating. Prices fell between 1991 and 1996, and this fall will be longer and harder. Doubtful we'll return to 1996 prices, but we might return to 1996+inflation if Schiller is right.

High and constant demand did not cause the kind of runup we've seen in the last 10 years for the previous 30 years.

11/08/2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger Cookie Jill said...

The foreclosures seem to be up in "North County" so they don't really "count" to those in power down here in "the City."

11/08/2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

The County Clerk-Recorder will have the numbers for the last quarter in SB county.

The County Tax Assessor is already making adjustments downward in the county because of falling home values. Maybe we could get some figures on projected loss of revenue. (And maybe getting re-financed on appraisal will be harder than you think.)

I'm sure we have talented local folks who can comment on the economic fallout based on those numbers.

Assuming that the numbers are big (and they already are breaking So. Cal. records set in 1996) a few questions come to mind:

What will be the impact on home values, county budgets, sustainable law and fire protection, schools, small business and working families?

There's been some opining here that all this is playing with matches. That it's only north county. That it won't effect the high end. I've found data today that refutes all of those assertions. But I can't qualify any of it.

I'm only mildly amused that some CEO is getting the keys to the street.

The problem is, we need facts we can review in some sort of credible local news journal.

This is only a blog.

11/08/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not directly about foreclosures, but can we please have an articulate and accurate discussion about affordable housing that includes some reality? There are many, many of us in our late twenties and early thirties that DID pull off a S. County home purchase over the last three years. And no, none of the half dozen couples my wife and I directly know got help from Mommy and Daddy.

11/08/2007 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:06pm how about some real details? Cost and location of the homes from you and your half-dozen couples, monthly payments, family incomes of those half-dozen couples?

11/08/2007 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The high end property values will be protected. Tax cuts given to the top 1% will ensure Moneycity and other high end markets will be the stable demographic.

Regardless of how much the low end properties drop (1.2 mil and below) prices will still be beyond reach of the working poor, working famalies and workers in general.

11/08/2007 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good thing, anon 1047; without the high end property values you denigrate, the north county and working poor would have no safety net, as their elected representatives do not support adequate funding of the very programs that are most needed up there.

11/09/2007 6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want affordable, buy into those proects that have a high number of subsidized inclusionary units because no real buyers want to buy into those projects and they are having to give away the rest of the market units.

No one wanted to actually live in these subsidized projects and those who did buy are quickly turning them into short-term rentals because living with a bunch of subsidized owners when they were asked to pay market costs was not their idea of paradise.

But it looked like a good way to make some fast bucks turning it into a short-term rental slum for people who won't care who they are living next to. One more failed city socialized housing project with major unintended consequences.

So if you don't mind living with people who will be paying a lot less for their condo fees than you for the exact same property and who got into it for a way lot less than you will have to pay, you probably can pick up some under-market bargains as they fire sale the rest of these units.

Enjoy resenting your neighbors for the rest of your ownership.

11/09/2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

The Indy's Chris Meagher put up this story on the Nov 6 county budget hearings.

http://independent.com/
news/2007/nov/08/cautious-supes-
deny-most-expansion-requests/

11/09/2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:31pm We are one of those young couples who did pull of a purchase in Goleta. Our incomes and professions put us right in the middle of "middle class" and have sacrificed in nearly every aspect of our financial lives to buy into the American dream. Your tone implies it is not possible for an average person to buy, but maybe if you put down the daily latte, traded in the Prius for a decent beater Honda and thought about a roommate for a while, you too could own a piece of paradise.

10:47pm It may not be politically correct in socialist S.B., but not everyone is equal...not everyone gets to buy a house, which is why rental markets exist in every economy in the world. Poor means you don't get stuff, but no one is going hungry or without emergency care and much of that is paid for by that 1% you denigrate. Per my comment to 9:06, there are a lot of "working poor" who have pooled their resources and bought houses as well, without the need for artificial affordability mandates.

11/09/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in 1977, I bought my very small house in a poor Santa Barbara neighborhood for $75,000. I was making $11 an hour and I had saved $15,000 for the down payment from 10 years of prior working.

Thank you for calculating the ratio in terms of today's prices and earning capacities. I suppose people buy houses today the same way we did decades ago: sacrifice and save. And start with less than your ideal dream home.

The key always is after this first major investment one's earning capacity goes up over the years but one's mortgage payment stays relativelythe same, if you avoid the trap of taking equity out and refinancing.

And thus is the lesson of sacrificing initially for that first home purchase. Today that small home is worth $750,000. That was money well spent.

11/09/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks that mortgage foreclosures, in any number, can be compared to two thousand homes going up in smoke, along with everything in them, is really missing the point.

11/09/2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara
Here is how the foreclosure process works:

A buyer buys a house for, say $500,000, and puts $100,000 ( 20% cash of their own money) down payment and gets a $400,000 80% loan from a bank.

later the homeownergets in financial problems from either a divorce or losing their job or tyheir business goes under. They them misss a couple loan payments.

The bank lender then files a notice of default which informs the homeowner that if he does not make the payments current in 90 days that he will lose his house to foreclosure. Many people get a little behind and get such notices but 90% make their payments current within the 90 days and save their house. This is the numbder in default that is refferred to in the article as the huge number in foreclose but it is quite misleading.

Then after the 90 days is up the bank lender files a second notice called a notice of sale which informs the homeowner that if he does not pay the entire $400,000 loan in full within 21 days that the lender will foreclose and auction off the house on the steps of the courthouse in a public authion.

If the owner cannot sell the house or come up with the full $400,000 the house is auctioned off at a public authtion to the highest bidder. If the highest bid is not the 4$400,000 owed then the bank now owns the house and can sell it for $400,000 to get their money back. If the highest bidder is say $450,000 then the bank gets their $400,000 and the $50,000 excess must be paid top the homeowner who just lost their house.


Most houses in foreclosure were financed at the peak of the market and have now dropped in value 20% so the loan is now equal to the full value of the house. so the owner has no equity and so decided to stop making payment and walks away from the house sticking the lender woth having to foreclose in order to get the house and be able to sell it and get their money. If the value drops to $375,000 then the lender has just lost $25,000, so the lender getys back the vast portion. The real loser is the homeowner who has just lost his entir down payment. Of couse some lenders were stupid and sold houses for 0 down. In this case the buyer loses no money and the stupid lender loses 20%.


Bottom line is the actual number of the houses that go into foreclosure and are actually sold is only 10% of the number given in the paper. The vast majority save their house.

so if the article says there are 1000 foreclosures filed only 100 of these actually lose their house.

11/09/2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thank you! I, and others I am sure, understand much better now. The only thing is that I understand you have to have cash on the steps of the courthouse to buy one of these homes?

This is how the rich get richer! :)

Thanks for the educational comment...

11/09/2007 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes one has toi have the full amount in cash at the steps of the courthouse.
But 955 of these are currently not worth buying at the minumum bid so are all going back to the bank.

so a buyer can contact the bank and work out a deal with a loan and buy a house for around 90% of current market value.

11/09/2007 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is classic "pump and dump".
only this time speculators got caught short. CEO's got fired first and it rolls down hill so who is next? How many businesses will fire people and tighten up on spending to make payments?

6:52 says it takes time for foreclosure to happen. Makes me woder what is coming.

11/09/2007 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad that Das is blaming the news-press for the election results...in his quote to the N-P!?

Longtime SB voters will remember his dismissal of our intelligence. As one person who specifically did NOT vote for Das or Measure A, and DID vote for Helene, I find his comments clear reinforcement of why that man should NEVER attain higher office.....nipple rings and bare chest notwithstanding

11/10/2007 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:06 again: here are the demographics.

Of the 6 couples mentioned, 4 live in Goleta, 1 in upper-Westside, 1 on Mesa.

All consider themselves middle class.

All couples are two income, but three of the couples include a part timer (e.g., husband full time, wife part time).

All have at least one child.

Average gross household income $150k annually.

Average home purchase price about $1M. Lowest purchase price $650K, highest $1.4M. All homes single family. All homes purchased within last three years, most recent September 2007.

Average mortgage $700K. Lowest $500K, highest $900K.

Please consider us, your neighbors, when decrying the lack of "affordable housing". Homeownership has and always will be difficult in SB but it is being done repeatedly.

11/10/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3,000 housing units out of a total of approximately 142,000 units countywide is still a pretty small percentage. As with anything, there is no free lunch. People often buy what they cannot afford and need to take into consideration that zero down loans and some if the other instruments marketed during the housing boom are not such great deals when the market busts. The lenders will survive because they built higher interest rates and more points into these loans in trade for the high risk associated with them, but buyers should understand if a deal looks too good, it probably is.

Our county needs more affordable housing for working people, but that is a separate issue than people not taking into account the risks of a mortgage payment that can get bigger than their incomes.

11/10/2007 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:55: You left out Tramp-Stamp

11/10/2007 12:47 PM  
Anonymous H. R. Pufnstuf, mayor of living island said...

Why doesn't that nifty population stabilization group insist that these 3,000 deadbeat so-called homeowners (and their families) just pack up and get the heck out of SB County? IF you figure 2.3 per household were looking at 7,000 plus deadbeats and would also do alot for their cause.

Santa Barbara is a high class county and we don't want or need this riff-raff!!! We need top quality homeowners who add to the value of their neighborhoods (by adding things like greco-roman sculpture and strategically trimmed ornamentals here, not these short timers who will just add another satellite dish.)

We have people living here with world-class names like McCune, Schlesinger, VonWiesenberger, Steepleton, Brantingham, Winfrey... so puhleeez people can we try to maintain appearances??? If this is not the upper crust then the world is crustless!

The heck with TJ, can we get funding to build a border wall at Rincon to keep the LAers out? Seems kind of lame to pick on hard working people who will live 20 to a room - we'll keep em here, thank you.

Just try to get someone from out of any of those 3,000 homes to clean your toilet and raise your children... they won't help even though you and I both know they have bills to pay. Thank you for uncovering these very lazy Americans.

Think about this... If all those 3,000 homes came back on the market at once, wouldn't it would do wonders for affordability of homes for those who actually want to pay their bills?

Limiting UCSB and/or SBCC to LOCALS ONLY would also do wonders to make housing more affordable locally, not to mention reducing the crime rate from the out of town hooligans who invade DelPlaya and State Street throughout the school year. Empty classrooms and offices could then be given over to the homeless, for housing.

See. There's always a solution.

11/10/2007 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:24am... thanks for your information and forthrightness.

Households that make >=$150,000 a year constitute about 6-10% of
US Households, according to census
data.... see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Income_distribution

You may feel middle class, but statistically you aren't. You are solidly in the upper class.

With an average loan of $700,000, looks to me like you pay about $50,000 a year in mortgage payments, and then $10,000 a year in property taxes. Homeowners insurance, upkeep, utilities, etc add about $5,000 a year. So your housing situation costs about $65,000 a year; the median household income in the US is $44,389.

Of course you get a $15,000 tax break from the mortgage interest tax deduction. It's wonderful that the government feels owning a house is important enough to give you that tax break, but for the median household, their *total gross* income still falls below the $50,000 needed to pay for your housing.

Then there is the $300,000 average down payment your group made. A very parsimonious household at the median income might be able to save $20,000 a year... 15 years to put together that down payment. That isn't impossible, but is pretty hard.

It would be interesting to hear how your group of six accumulated their average down payment of $300,000.

11/10/2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, it is written someplace that everyone is supposed to live in Santa Barbara?

I can't live in Montecito. And, I can live with that. I don't go around demanding that the County of Santa Barbara makes me able to live in Montecito. I live where I can afford and make my life there.

11/10/2007 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two cushy jobs with any state or municipal agency in this area will net you an easy $150K income.

And you get freebie health insurance, retirement, paid vacation, tons of days off, time in grade, professional development, free conferences and travel, and opportunity to demand more every three years or your morale will suffer and you will pout and not have to do your work.

If you want a house in this town, sign up with the city or county because they are offering a lot of these jobs. No more complaining. Do the work, get the money and then you too will get the house.

Oh, I see. You don't really want to take this kind of a dead-end middle class job. Oh, so sorry.

11/10/2007 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is how one couple with middle class jobs saved for their first down payment: rented a studio for three years and saved everything and did nothing extra.

They believed in their long term goal, got their first house out of town and within a few years ratched their equity up to get a really great house here in Santa Barbara.

You would be surprised how many first generation immigrants do exactly the same thing and find the American dream of homeownership is well within their reach.

I get the strong feeling many in this town expect to have it all, all fun, no work and then a dream home thrown in for free just because they demand one. Nope, it does not work that way. And, it never has.

Stop whining and start saving. Now.

11/10/2007 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF? U last 3 challenged by numbers R what? Words, words, words, as useful as turds, turds, turds.

Numbers, my bloggers. Stastics, you foos. U can say all U want, but the numbers don't lie like that gleam in yo eye.

I no whine, no need U put that boot on my throat.

The simpo facts is clear, U need to be top 5% in income to buy here.

U may luv it, U may cherish it, but they's no deny-in it. This save, be thrifty is so much bull.

The numbers and statistics don't lie, like that gleam in yo eye. This town be for the rich, and they get a FAT GOVERNEMENT SUBSIDY IN THE MORTGATE INTEREST TAX DEDUCTION TO GET THEYSELFS RICHER.

THEY RICH FOLKS, THEY JUST ON WELFARE, FRIENDS.

THEY 6 FAMILIES ABOVE, WELL, YESSIR, OVER THE LIFE OF THEY MORTGATE THE GET... $400,000 SUBSIDY FOR FOLKS THAT'S IN THE TOP 7% OF THE INCOME DISTRIBUTION. YES SIR. ME, MAKES ME WANT TO GET LIKE FRED LUCAS AND GET THIS TOWN A POPPIN.

And the folks that gets it, they put their boot on the neck of the poor for the temerity to get a wee bit o' th' same in affordable housing.

IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT.

11/11/2007 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:54 There is nothing that says you have to live in SB but considering how skewed the demographics between income and cost of housing are, there should be some sort of alternative for people who provide valuable goods and services to the community. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, Downtown redevelopment is being done in cities all over the country with a double benefit. It provides workers affordable housing, breathes new life into downtown areas and cuts way down on the commuters. We spent a weekend in Memphis recently and were impressed with how that ciy is cleaning up the downtown and converting wharehouses and older buildings into chic living spaces. They have a good bus and trolley system and lots of well lit parks and walking trails. Memphis is an old, rough city compared to SB but I was impressed with how many people really used the outdoor spaces and spent their lunch hours in the parks and walking. The downtown was far more lively than L.A. It still has a long way to go, but they are off to a good start. I read a lot of elitists who poo-poo this sort of thing for SB but many other cities have made this work to their benefit. Downtown SB could be home to more than trendy, upscale chain stores if you know what I mean.

10:20 Those jobs are hard to get and you know it. The competition for good paying jobs is fierce as SB has a low pay scale for the cost of living and always has, because it is a "desirable area". It ain't what you know, it's who you know in getting good jobs. Jobs in SB are either high end professional jobs or low end service or office jobs with little in between.

10:24 Your move out to move up theory used to work pretty well before prices went out of site and while the market was appreciating. It was possible to buy a place in Ventura or Lompoc, commute for a couple of years and then flip the house using the profit for a down payment closer to SB. Since the downturn, many of those who made that decision are stuck in their out of town homes and face the ever increasing cost of commuting. at well over $3 a gallon and rising fast. Those costs can be very high and cut way into "savings" towards a move closer to SB. Having been part of a down cycle in SB before, I know prices will drop, but not enough to make that much of a difference for most people. A couple living in a studio might be able to save enough money if they don't kill each other or end up divorced from lack of privacy, but what about families with kids?

What I see are a whole lot of typical elitist professionals who treat the working middle class as 2nd class citizens. We are good enough to serve you but you don't want to enable us to live where we work because we might trash the neighborhood.

11/11/2007 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:45, this is a great country. You can live a lot of places. There are towns begging for people to come where the living is cheap. You apparently are not happy living here nor can you afford to live here.

Life is short. Go some place you can afford and get your life back on track. Be happy. Try Tehachapi, Marysville, Yuba City Victor Valley..... there are tons of places right here in California that have places to buy still down in the $100,000 for a house.

Clue: it is not a healthy life to live where you cannot afford and where you spend your life hating those who can No one owes you anything.

This is AmericaThis is a great country. This country still has plenty of opportunity as evidenced by the constant stream of upwardly moblie immigrants. You are getting left behind.

Even the President of France warmly complimented us on that quality. You have missed the boat with your whining about no one handing it all to you on a silver platter.

If you want to live a bitter life, stick around a place you cannot afford, do nothing and be unhappy complaining to fewer and fewer people who still want to listen to you.

Get past your class envy and get your life together somewhere where it can work for you and your particular means and ability. You are wasting it right now hating and complaining. Chill and get on with it.

11/11/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two cushy jobs with any state or municipal agency in this area will net you an easy $150K income.

It's just that simple, folks!

They just hand those jobs out by the dozens - without any need for an education, advanced degrees, or work experience in the field.

Tired of delivering pizzas? Get a job with any state or municipal agency. Tired of cleaning houses? Get a job with any state or municipal agency. Just out of prison? Get a job with any state or municipal agency!

$75,000 a year can be yours now!

Buying a home in Santa Barbara means you get to live amongst people who have no concept of money.

11/11/2007 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who already lives here has a huge advantage getting a local job. So stop whining that you cannot get one of these good jobs. After all, are you not saying jobs cannot be filled because it is too expensive to come here to live? This is exactly the sort of double talk that makes any rational discussion break down into a class envy cat fight slinging stereotypes instead of getting facts.

Plenty of people in the service sector live here, work here and get jobs here and do not feel like second class citizens. Obviously you have not talked to many. Again your class envy is showing, except it is not shared by the working and house owning middle class.

I simply do not understand where you are coming from, comparing Santa Barbra to Memphis, making sweeping generalizations about who actually lives and works here and finding fault in every single alternative except giving you a subsidized place to live at someone else's expense.

We are tired of your sort of thinking so don't think you are going to wear someone down until they finally give you a cheap place to live.

Get your education because it is still low cost to go to college here, if you think you have to have this to get a public sector job -- but you do not.

Custodians make plenty in this town. Double that income with a partner, and start living the American dream in this town before tons of other people beat you to it.

And stop turning your nose up at living in a mobile home park, or on leased forest land, or a one bedroom $350,000 condo.

People who are still demanding funded subsidized housing are missing out on the cheap housing that already exists right here and right now in this town.

Unless you want to finally admit you are too good for what is available in your price range? Please let me know if this is the case, so I too am not guilty of stereotyping your brand of class warfare.

11/11/2007 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you cannot afford to live here, stop demanding someone provide housing for you. If you just got out of prison, Santa Barbara just may not be your best first stop.

If you clean houses and hate commuting or living sub-standardly, go somewhere else to clean houses because there are plenty of people living here already who are happy to take your job from you. And who save and buy small houses and run their own cleaning businesses and are doing just fine.

Gheesh, things are not that dire in this town for those who work. And we do not envy those who have more than we do because we actually did find a way to live here and like it.

11/11/2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only one class war in america; the rich prosecute it against the non-rich.

Any scrutiny of the 1/2 million dollar tax break the rich in Santa Barbara get for buying their houses and they prattle on about whining and ex-cons coming to Santa Barbara and other claptrap.

That's because its war, and they are engaging in propaganda and hiding the government handouts they get that make them rich like the mortgage income tax credit.

Let's limit that to no more than $8,000 a year. Period.

Of course the rich will now have a million irrelevant complaints to flood the debate with non-sequiturs, and they'll never take on the real issue... they are getting huge government handouts.

Makes a seat at the Place de la Concorde seem quite attractive.

11/11/2007 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We are tired of your sort of thinking so don't think you are going to wear someone down until they finally give you a cheap place to live.

Get your education because it is still low cost to go to college here, if you think you have to have this to get a public sector job -- but you do not.


Frankly, I question whether people who hold your point of view have really ever had to truly work for living. I mean - real work, not this "private sector" nonsense people like you seem to think pays so well (it doesn't - not that you have any clue).


Hey, guess what. I have both a Master's degree and a job in the public sector. Neither is as lucrative as you so ignorantly believe.

However, this isn't about me wanting anything. I come from a certain amount of privilege, and I know what it takes to get and maintain that privilege. When I want to get there, I'll get there with little effort.

However, not everyone has the opportunities I (or you) have. And this distorted "American dream" philosophy is a myth. It doesn't exist.

The "they" make up far more than the "we" - and I will support the "they" over the "we" because I think the "they" provide an infinitely more valuable service than the "we".

However, I also doubt I want to settle here due to attitudes of people like you. I wouldn't want raise my kids in an city that views vital members of its own community - who work hard every day to provide you with the luxury you don't deserve - with so such disdain and contempt.

Your views are far greater a blight on this community than any gang violence or homelessness could possibly be. You - and people like you who have repeatedly failed to act due to your own arrogance - are entirely responsible for the continued problems plaguing SB.

It's a pox on all of your houses - and karma is a bitch.

11/11/2007 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 7:29pm
They just hand those jobs out by the dozens - without any need for an education, advanced degrees, or work experience in the field.

Tired of delivering pizzas? Get a job with any state or municipal agency. Tired of cleaning houses? Get a job with any state or municipal agency. Just out of prison? Get a job with any state or municipal agency!

$75,000 a year can be yours now!


Wow, where are you getting your numbers and information from? I have an MBA from one of the top ten biz schools in the country and I can assure you I sure wasn't getting $75k a year when I worked in county government. Have you looked at the pay scales for state and city employees? Just what are you smoking -- but with those exaggerations, maybe I should ask just what are you shooting into your arms?

11/12/2007 1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:29 and 7:26 What do you consider middle class? By any normal standards I was middle class. You also assume a 2 income family. I was a single mom without child support or alimony raising 2 kids. Also, good paying non-degreed technical jobs are NOT easy to get and never have been in SB. Most service jobs pay minimum wage or a little more. Try living on that!

How many janitors make $75,000 year? I made more than twice the office workers and clerks in my company and thought I was doing well for SB compared to most people I knew. I made approximately $50,000 a year, and yes I did have my own home that I bought in 1986. There is no way in hell I could afford a home in SB or Goleta now on that salary! I only took home $2600 a month after taxes with 7 exemptions to make up for the mortgage deduction. My payment was $1220 on a $220,000 loan at 6% and my taxes were only $2200 a year. Fast forward to 2007 and consider paying $350,000 for an old trailer in a park with a space rent of $300 a month (if you can find one!. Forget about buying a real house! Remember, I had 2 kids to support also! There is no way I could 1, save the money and 2, qualify for a conventional loan if I did save the money, and 3, afford it even with roomates.

You are right, it is a class war. You spout a lot of elitist crap without anything to back up what you say. You treat hard working middle class citizens like they are lazy trash. The numbers don't lie and the majority of people who YOU rely on to support the foundation of the community are barely making it, even with scrimping, roomates and multiple jobs. I know, I was one of them many years ago, and worked with them for years after I got my piece of paradise. I never asked for any subsidies from anyone. Considering the market now, if there were affordable downtown condos to rent or buy so I could have a decent, safe home for my family and not commute, I would definitely sign up. Forcing good people out because there are always more that are willing to take there place is bad for business and the community. A stable workforce is an asset to a community not a liability. Enjoy living in your perfect bubble because if it ever bursts, you will realize very quickly how priviledged you really are. Unless you find another $150,000+ a year job, you WILL be in the same situation as those you scorn.

11/12/2007 5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want a Mercedes Benz.

I can't afford one on my $75,000 salary, but.....

I feel I have a right to own one because many in Santa Barbara own their own Mercedes.

Please do somethig so that the City of Santa Barbara will supply me with a new Mercedes Benz.

11/12/2007 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reply to anon 5:28

This is not a class war, and this is nothing about being elitist.

It's all about reality.

The reality is that Santa Barbara is a high end coastal resort community. Just like Montecito or Hope ranch or Beverly Hills.
The reality is that it is a city of choice for wealthy people who made it in the free enterprise system.

The reality is that America is a free enterprise system and is unlikely to change anytime soon.
this is the greatest system ever devised. It allows anyone the possibility to be sucessful. Yes it takes some hard work.

In conclusion a person either takes advantage of what our system has to offer and makes it and can afford to live in this exclusive high end resort coastal community or they for one reason or another don't make it and camnnot afford the luxury of living in the most desireable city in the world.

In effect Santa Barbara is exactly like a luxury Mercedes Benz.
The reality is that not everyperson in our society can afford to buy one. No different than not everyone can afford to live in luxury Beverly Hills, montecito, hope Ranch or Santa Barbara.

Do ypou think that society should provide a new Mercedes Benz, at a price that everyone can afford, for everyone who would like one? This is absolutely no different than asking if society should provide, for everyone who would like to live here, an affordable house to live in luxury Santa Barbara or Beverly Hills.

Santa Barbara has become Beverly Hills...people need to accept this unfortunate fact and GET OVER IT!!

11/12/2007 4:08 PM  
Anonymous V I Lenin said...

Victory is upon us Comrades. We we're down in 1989...but never out. Santa Barbara is trying so hard to live up to the Marxist model previously abandoned by Beijing and Moscow. It makes me feel like having a May Day parade in November!

Once all the Santa Barbaran's are in government jobs (salary $75,000 annually) and government housing and meals (cost $ 74,900 annually), we will then proceed to close down their bougoise capitalist playgrounds which we will replace with our trademark bread lines and more worker housing.

We'll also close unproductive parts of town, like major intersections, and replace them with mini roundabouts that will double as entrances to the piss mines. That is where many of the people of Santa Barbara will soon be working. These mines are the places where we will try to recover what has been pissed away of the city over the past 11 months through intransigence and beligerance.

Some of the advantages we have with Santa Barbara are that the people actually seem happy about going Communist, to the extent that we don't even have to write the propaganda ourselves (see posts on the Blogabarbara Blog), or send in jack booted thugs to get them "motivated".

We are also fortunate to be able to leave most of the previously "elected" officials in place without risk. The proliteriat will love it even more when we seize their daily newspaper, close down the rest of the local "rags" and give them a steady diet of OUR side of the story. We have a solution if anyone doesn't think OUR side of the story is THEIR side of the story. (See end of 4th paragraph.)

Long live the People's Republic of Santa Barbara!

11/12/2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

As I said above, "It is news, Sara, and the economic disaster is country wide", and I posted a news link about the matter. As is typical, almost no one above provided any support for their claims. Here's another piece I just ran across, "The Coming Foreclosure Tsunami":
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071126/hayes

11/16/2007 10:28 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

I din't see any mention of it so, at the risk of a jqb smackdown, I'll offer up that the fed will tax you on the difference between your foreclosed mortgage balance and what the bank actually accepted for the write down.

In other words, If you owed $700K on your mortgage and they sold your house for $650K, Uncle Sam considers the $50K as income to you and you will have to pay tax on that amount as ordinary income.

So not only are you broke and homeless but you still owe the IRS and you can't ever not pay them.

I'm carefully cultivating my credit cards. I can get over $100K in cash now with them. Seeing as the entire county is trying to screwup my retirement plans, my fallback is to refinance the house 100% of value, rent out the house and collect till they foreclose, grab the cash from the credit cards and sneak off to Costa Rica. Sticking you all with the bill... of course

11/16/2007 8:36 PM  

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