Californians can get $3,000 grants to retrofit homes for earthquake safety, but the average property has a 1 in 1,400 chance of experiencing damage in a big quake.
In the meantime, a few hundred people have left L.A. and its coastal communities and are migrating to the Pacific Northwest.
There are some who say this is a sign of a California-wide “death spiral” in its housing market, but most experts say it’s an early indicator of a strengthening housing market in other parts of the country. The exodus, they say, is one of the many forces that are pushing up rents throughout the American real estate market.
The idea that California would be left behind in the national rental market has become a popular talking point in the state, and has had an impact on state legislation. Two bills the state Senate and Assembly last week introduced, if passed, would allow landlords to raise rent for the first time in more than a decade and create a new program that would allow housing developers to build affordable housing on low-value sites.
It’s also one of the factors pushing up prices in California. As the cost of living here increases, landlords are able to charge more and make more profit. In addition, a growing number of investors are buying properties in California so they become attractive to investors who buy rental properties with a higher profit margin.
But there is a second, more important reason for the coastal exodus — the rising cost of housing in the more affordable coastal neighborhoods. While the cost of rent has risen 40 percent here in the past five years, the cost of house costs have risen 50 percent and the cost of buying a house is now six times what it was in the mid-1990s. Since the 2000 census, the median asking price for a house in California has more than doubled, to $500,000, in some cases more than doubling the amount in some of the more affordable coastal counties.
“It takes a