Who Can Afford To Live In the Bay Area?

Bay Area housing crisis hits home for San Jose councilman ( click on photo to watch the video )

– A member of the San Jose City Council said he too is feeling the pinch of the Bay Area’s housing crisis.

Raul Peralez was recently forced to move from his San Jose home.

Peralez said finding a new home he could afford in downtown proved to be difficult.

The new Google campus is at least five years away from being built near the Diridon Station.The councilman said the majority of the ads he saw for rentals marketed the tech giant which he called eye-opening.

Like so many people in the Bay Area, Peralez envisions owning a home with a backyard to raise a family but that dream appears to be out of reach.

“I cannot afford with my wife and I’s combined salaries,” said Peralez. “She’s in nonprofit and myself in government. We can’t afford to purchase a home in the district three area.”

Earlier this month, Peralez, his wife, six-month-old son and two dogs had to move out of their home they rented in San Jose’s Rosemary Gardens neighborhood.

The homeowners told them they’re selling the house and moving out of California.

“They did mention to us if we were interested in purchasing,” said Peralez. “Unfortunately the home is now valued at $1.3 million.”

Peralez said he found only three rentals in downtown in his price range that would accept dogs. His family is now living in a town home with less space and $600 more in rent.

The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors said areas in downtown San Jose, especially those close to the proposed Google mega campus have gone up in value.

“Before Google had announced their plans to expand in that area,” said Santa Clara County Association of Realtors Rick Smith, “they were selling for x, the same units would sell for 10 or 20 or 30 percent more after the announcement.”

The Silicon Valley Organization, a business advocacy group, said it’s unfair to put the blame on Google for rising rents.

“I don’t think you can say fundamentally that a nonexistent Google campus or major employers have caused the housing shortage,” said The Silicon Valley Organization President CEO Matthew Mahood.

Just this month, the city’s salary setting commission bumped council members’ salaries from $97,000 to $125,000 which Peralez supports.

The mayor rejected his pay increase. “Not everyone is in that financial situation our current mayor may be,” said Peralez. “The salary should be one that people can afford, if we are required to, afford to live in the communities we represent.”

The councilman has secured a one-year lease for his current rental. He said, his personal struggle has re-energized him to fight for affordable housing developments in San Jose.