The California Housing Market, Squeezing Blood from Stones before they Burn up and Fall into the Ocean
The state of California doesn’t want anyone to live in it. Or rather, they don’t want anyone but the very richest people to live in it. Or rather, they only want the very richest people to own property and for everyone else to be struggling to pay rent and survive, or to be homeless and die. Not that the mindset of other states is so different, but California is an insane extreme. Capitalists want to make money. They form companies to buy up all livable space, then bleed them dry. And state and city officials are fine with that. Sure, they might put small obstacles in place, to little effect. Because they want the rich to exsanguinate every dollar and dime from the rest of us; in some perverse interpretation of the economy, that’s a positive.
My girlfriend and I have been talking about moving in together. Considering that she works from home, we have two large dogs, and both of us own excessive shit, a two bedroom apartment is basically a must, and two bathrooms would make life more peaceful. Really one and a half would be great; we need two toilets, not two showers. For this region, and granted we do live in Marin, one of the most expensive counties in California, it turns out that that’s exorbitantly expensive. There was one place that we both liked and seriously considered, but was out of our price range. We could “afford” to live there, if we didn’t want to ever eat out, go on a vacation, save money to one day actually buy a house.
We for damn sure can’t ever buy a house here. Barring some catastrophe that completely sinks the housing market, and unfortunately the former is more likely than the latter, or our salaries multiplying ten or twenty times over, we will never have the money to buy a house in Marin county. Even with a mortgage, which is its own scam where you don’t actually own shit and are really just paying rent to a bank, the cost is too high. A piece of shit shack in this county doesn’t go for under a million dollars. Anything decent is in the millions. So the idea of living here and having a comfortable home with a yard for our pups to go bananas running around tackling each other in is just impractical.
I acknowledge that this is all bitching from a place of privilege. There are couples who do move into one bedroom apartments, have kids and other useless drains on their finances and energy, and don’t buy or do anything extra for fun. We’re not those people. And the point in the end is that no one should have to be those people. Housing should not be so unaffordable that you either have to be rich, pour every cent into it, or are forced onto the street. No one should have to suffer and sacrifice everything else in life in order to keep a roof over their heads. You should not have to be rich to be happy.
Housing is a necessity which should not be treated as a tool for profit. There should be a rule that any resource or commodity without which people will suffer and die cannot be exploitable. I’m not saying that the state should own all property, rather that it regulates the amount that property owners can charge to sell or rent it, set rules in line with the cost of living and inflation. There should also be limits on the amount of property a person can own. If there are many people that can’t afford a single house or apartment, then a single person should not be able to own multiple houses and/or apartment buildings. Companies should not be allowed to own residential real estate. Period. It’s absurd and corrupt that “property management groups” own multiple complexes, with hundreds of units, for which they charge thousands of dollars each, and have no actual expenses besides taxes and minimal maintenance costs. Scrap that entirely. Matter of fact, scrap the whole landlord system. Unless you live on the property and are renting part of it to tenants, or you have an extra house from a previous marriage or deceased relatives, or a vacation house, fuck off, you don’t deserve to profit for “providing” people the “service” of having a place to live.