Sunday, September 6, 2015

No Californication!

Just read an amusing news story about a new trend in the Portland, Oregon real estate market.  It seems a bunch of folks from California have been invading the area and raising home prices.  Oregonians are fighting back by putting "No Californians" signs on "For Sale" signs.

Apparently, people from California are moving north and outbidding people from Oregon.  Californians often have the ability to pay in cash and have no qualms about outbidding less cash endowed buyers.  I suspect there's a similar problem in Washington State.  Before Bill got his job in Germany, we were looking at the possibility of moving to Washington and I noticed that the home prices were a lot higher there than in Texas.  It would have cost a lot just to rent in the Seattle area.  And he would have been working his ass off, too.

A friend of mine is moving from Stuttgart to Washington State and has had a hell of a time buying a house.  He kept getting outbid.  I think he finally succeeded in buying a place, but it took time and effort.

I'm so glad it worked out for us to move back to Europe.  The lifestyle suits us.  In many ways, the area of Germany where we live is kind of reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest.  And while it's definitely not cheap to live in the Stuttgart area, we're able to do it.  We probably could have done it in Washington State, too, but I think it would have been harder.

As for the Oregonians, I can sort of feel their pain.  It must be frustrating to have people from a neighboring state come in and change the fabric and culture of an area.  My parents grew up in Rockbridge County, Virginia and maybe twenty years ago, a bunch of people from northern Virginia and Washington, DC moved down there and started buying property, along with a bunch of Mormons.  Yes, it changed the culture a bit.  Change isn't always a bad thing, of course, and the presence of new blood can inject life in a place.  However, it can also make it difficult for the natives who don't have the earning or buying power that "come heres" have.

I'm sure not everyone resents the invasion of Californians.  The people selling the homes who stand to make a killing are probably overjoyed when folks move north.  It's fellow buyers who are irritated. What's a home buyer to do?  Sometimes you're the bat... sometimes you're the ball.

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