California Real Estate: 1980s-1990s

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Journalist Brad Inman Chronicled the California Real Estate Market in a Wide-Ranging Series of Articles

The housing market in California continues to be one of the most expensive in the country. Cost and demand have both been rising for decades, resulting in an affordable housing crisis that concerns and impacts policymakers, citizens, and companies across the state. But how did we get here? And how do we solve the problem?

These articles, written for a variety of publications between 1985 and 1990, discuss a range of factors that shaped the housing market in California. Despite the range of topics covered, from infrastructure to environmentalism, affordable housing to technology, one unmistakable trend stands out: the beginnings of the current affordable housing mess. It has been in the works for 40 years and can be squarely put at the doorstep of three main groups: homeowners, environmentalists, and gutless politicians.

The affordable housing crisis was decades in the making; it will take decades to fix. Long-term solutions will require a commitment to the good of the community as a whole rather than to self-interest by individuals and policymakers. In looking back over these articles, I see the same California market that we are familiar with today: rising costs, increasing demand, and a lack of policies to curb these trends. I hope my future articles will highlight new and better trends for California.