Business Times: California housing problems are spilling across to neighbouring states

Business Times: California housing problems are spilling across to neighbouring states
March 21, 2018 Joanna Rivas

A GROWING homelessness crisis. Complaints about traffic congestion. Worries that the economy is becoming dominated by a wealthy elite. Those sound like California’s problems in a nutshell. But now, they are also among California’s leading exports. Just ask the citizens of this city, where growing numbers of Californians and companies such as Tesla have migrated to take advantage of cheap land and comparatively low home prices. A four-hour drive from Silicon Valley, across a mountain range and a state line, Reno is finding that imported growth is accompanied by imported problems. On a recent evening, Chance Reading, an electrician who has lived in the area for 15 years, went to the City Council chambers to speak against a proposed development near his home in Verdi, on Reno’s outskirts. He was part of a standing-room crowd that lined the back wall and spilled into the lobby. Neighbour after neighbour walked to the microphone to complain about clogged roads, overcrowded schools and a creeping sense that local residents were being overwhelmed by development. “Our big message tonight is really about the pace of growth, and trying to have a sustainable growth pattern versus a cycle of boom and bust,” Mr Reading said before the meeting. And it is not just happening in Reno. Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington have all seen a huge influx of homebuyers from California, according to the real estate website Zillow. A common thread is that each of these cities faces a growing housing crisis that, while not as severe as California’s, is setting off many of the same debates.

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