More rich fold want to live here, driving up rents for the rest of us
By Andy Franco
I live, breathe, and eat in Oakland, but over the years rent has become so out of hand because of the tech boom that I’m not sure what is going to happen. (And yes, I know it’s been like this since the turn of the century, but it is now completely ludicrous.)
More and more people who are looking for work and want a high-paying job in the tech industry come to the Bay Area because that’s where it’s at. All the jobs are here. In Oakland alone, we have Pandora and other smaller companies, while Uber is expanding to our downtown, but it doesn’t matter if you work in SF or Fremont, living in Oakland is cool now for young techies, and their checks don’t bounce.
More pay equals more money to be made for real estate agencies and landlords, who are turning out their current tenants in greater numbers — never mind if they told you when you’re first moving into your new home that they will never raise the rent on you
It’s the technological era. They’re enjoying it all while every working-class Oakland native is suffering for them. I know what you are thinking: “Why not just keep the rent low for the working class?” It’s smart in theory but doesn’t work in reality when businessmen own most of the rentals, not the government. We must understand the reason why rent is so expensive in Oakland now is the fact that landlords want to have newer and richer people to live in their homes so they can charge more. Simple economics.
I went to an Oakland Commons meeting earlier in the school year and one speaker said the only way to solve the housing problem in Oakland is to build more houses. The idea is that the rich can move into houses more to their liking, which causes them to move out, and regular people to move back into the cheaper houses, basically filtering everyone out. There are some new big housing developments happening, like the one down by the estuary, but more new rich people might arrive to take them.
I’d like to learn some other ways we can combat the current housing crisis, and maybe buy us some time to prepare for the next one.