Saturday, March 25, 2006

"Everyone Wants to Live Here"?

People defending the recent rise in house prices here in Marin County often justify their argument by claiming that "everyone wants to live here". The same argument is often heard in many other bubble areas. So I wanted to know if it really is true that everyone wants to live in Marin County. Below you will find the results of my research. All data comes from the US Census Bureau. All graphs can be enlarged by clicking on them.

The following graph shows the percent change in total population in Marin County from the previous year's population ("total population" includes births, deaths, migrations in, migrations out). As you can see, the total population increased in 2001 (relative to 2000's total population) and then declined in 2002, 2003, and 2004 relative to the previous year's population, and then increased in 2005 (relative to 2004's total population). Since I did not include the data for 1999 or earlier, 2000's relative change is by definition 0% but I think it is safe to assume that it would have been some positive number:


The next graph shows the net migration for Marin County. This data does not include births or deaths and so represents the absolute numbers of people moving into or away from Marin County (which, of course, is what we are really interested in). As you can see in the following graph people moved into Marin in 2000 and 2001 but left the county in a major way in 2002, 2003, and 2004. There was an insignificant migration into the county in 2005:


The next graph shows the same data as the one above except expressed as percentage change:


The conclusion that I draw from this research is that it is in fact NOT true that "everyone wants to live here". If anything, it should be "everyone wants to leave here".

The question then becomes if people are leaving the county, who is buying their houses since they are probably not being razed? Speculators? Investors? You tell me.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Marin County. I live in Sacramento now (Midtown). I like it here. I came here for a job, but the place has grown on me. Sac gets a bad rap in the Bay Area, mainly because most Bay Areans think of Sacramento as that city they see in the hazy distance as they pass by it on their way to Tahoe. Which suits me just fine. Sac has a lot going for it. There are things I don't like about it. Downtown empties out after 5:00 PM, and becomes a ghost town. But at least there are some active, engaged people who are determined to change that and make downtown Sac a real, thriving, bustling urban center. In Marin, any attempts to change anything, from building a rail line to building a garden shed, arouse fierce political resistance from homeowners and environmentalists. It's a bunch of self-serving crap, it's intensely annoying, and I really don't miss it. There's some nice hiking in Marin - I kind of miss that, although there's plenty of nice hiking in the hills west of Davis as well that is every bit as spectacular as what you have in Marin. Do I want to live in Marin? I wouldn't mind so much. Do I want to live there and pay what y'all are charging? Hell no! You can have it.

Mar 25, 2006, 3:50:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"There's some nice hiking in Marin - I kind of miss that, although there's plenty of nice hiking in the hills west of Davis as well that is every bit as spectacular as what you have in Marin."

LOL Keep dreaming.
How is the view of the Pacific in Sacremento?

Mar 25, 2006, 7:00:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"The question then becomes if people are leaving the county, who is buying their houses since they are probably not being razed? Speculators? Investors? You tell me."

This post is one of your 'statiscal reaches', you can do better.

Mar 25, 2006, 7:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Mar 25, 2006, 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

Didnt mean to offend you if it is the same anon, but there is a reason Sacremento is at the top of the bubble list.

Mar 25, 2006, 8:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same as Marinite (whose name sounds like a iron containing mineral) - what is going on with the county population?

- Net fewer people living here over the past 5 years (I guess they are missing illegal immigrants and inlaw dwellers, and probably unemployed adult children living with parents clandestinely).

- Way more homes are built than demolished

My guess is that we have a flight of younger families with children and an increasing population of empty nesters. The same vapid baby boomers that make marin what it is.

Mar 25, 2006, 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

"LOL Keep dreaming.
How is the view of the Pacific in Sacremento?


Nobody lives in Sacto for beach access. Of course, they do have the delta. If we judge other cities by our handpicked criteria, the results should be obvious. Does everyone living outside the SF Bay hate their lives? I doubt it.

While I have my own dock, and live on a biking trail, I'll admit many people would rather live elsewhere.

Mar 25, 2006, 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are several reasons population growth is flat in Marin. Marin is mostly built-out, kids continue to move out, etc.
It's funny how on the one hand the complaint (on this blog) about Marin is the traffic on SFD, etc., then it's about how the population is decreasing!
I guess I'm not helping (increase the population) as I live in central Marin and recently bought a second home over the hill at Stinson. I purchased the beach house from an older couple that moved to Sonoma after the sale.

Mar 25, 2006, 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Keep dreaming.
How is the view of the Pacific in Sacremento?


Given that the fellow has been to both places and has some actual basis for his opinion, while you clearly have not and do not, I'm led to wonder just where your hostility is coming from.

Mar 25, 2006, 11:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Marin is a beautiful place to live.
There are also many other beautiful places to live.

Does the beauty of Marin justify the price?

The proximity to S.F. is a good thing.
If you need that.

I'm thinking the prices are a bit too high by rational standards, and more people will move away than stay.

I don't know about boomers or xers or any of those stereotypes.

I think the free market economy will eventually become rational.

Let the chips fall.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that the fellow has been to both places and has some actual basis for his opinion, while you clearly have not and do not, I'm led to wonder just where your hostility is coming from.

I'll answer that question for you. As long-time readers of this blog already know, anytime a poster mentions the fact that he or she is a native of Marin, that sends freddy-boy into quite a tizzy. Don't know why that is, but it's a pretty consistent behavior. Pavlov's dogs come to mind.

I guess one native one day had the temerity to question his motivation for moving here, or worse yet, tell him that he and his ilk are neither needed nor wanted here, and that pissed him off.

Right fred?

Mar 26, 2006, 3:14:00 AM  
Blogger Bubble-X said...

Good post. Just another nail in the coffin of the demand argument.

Mar 26, 2006, 8:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Keep dreaming.
How is the view of the Pacific in Sacremento?


Wow, what a jerk. That person obviously is perfectly happy where he is. Who are you to tell him he's not? Sounds like you're the one with the issues, pal.

Mar 26, 2006, 9:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess one native one day had the temerity to question his motivation for moving here, or worse yet, tell him that he and his ilk are neither needed nor wanted here, and that pissed him off.

The way Marin screws children of Marin has been ahot issue for a while now and the transplants are the most vulnerable to it as they are often the focus of blame. I think that explains his hostility and short fuse. just a guess

Mar 26, 2006, 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

It's ok to put pressure on other readers, but name calling and the like gets your comment deleted. Sorry.

Mar 26, 2006, 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the first "anonymous" from Sacramento. "fredtobik" can make fun of my adopted home town all he likes. As I said in my first post, I'm fine with this. The disdain many Bay Areans have for this city ("Cow Town," etc.) is what keeps them from visiting it, discovering what a nice place it actually is, moving here in droves and ruining it. (Actually, some of this has been happening in the past few years as Bay Area people move east in search of cheaper housing, but it seems to be leveling off as the overall housing market cools.) So by all means, stay in Marin and keep right on being snobs. I grew up in Marin, and there were certainly plenty of nice folks there, as there are anywhere, but I really don't miss all the self-centered narcissism.

Mar 26, 2006, 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'self-centered narcissism' has come from a bunch of New Englanders (a lot from NY) who have moved here over the years and they brought their 'in-the-circle' snobbishness with them. I for one would love to see these folks go back to where they came from. they totally ruined Marin.

Mar 26, 2006, 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way Marin screws children of Marin has been ahot issue for a while now and the transplants are the most vulnerable to it as they are often the focus of blame. I think that explains his hostility and short fuse. just a guess

People are perfectly free to move to Marin, and ought to be, just like they're free to move anyplace else. I don't know that there's any need to scapegoat outsiders in particular. Though, I can imagine from a native's point of view, it might be tough thing to take - to watch, within your lifetime, hordes of wealthy out-of-staters moving in and buy your home out from under you. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all over the place now. Ask any native of Seattle, or certain towns and cities in Wyoming or Montana. As it stands now, the problem in Marin is one of onerous environmental and zoning restrictions that make practically impossible the construction of any more new housing - other than seven-figure McMansions. I see plenty of those getting built. The message there is as clear as day: only the very wealthy need apply. Despite its allegedly progressive politics, I really do think the county wants to keep out the riffraff - and at the same time, maintain its bloated property values. All the talk about "preserving the environment" is just so much hot air. It's a way to sound "liberal" while being draconian and reactionary. I don't believe it for one second, from anybody.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"I'm led to wonder just where your hostility is coming from."

It wasn't meant to come off as hostile, communicating through the internet can be difficult.



"I'll answer that question for you. As long-time readers of this blog already know, anytime a poster mentions the fact that he or she is a native of Marin, that sends freddy-boy into quite a tizzy. Don't know why that is, but it's a pretty consistent behavior. Pavlov's dogs come to mind.

I guess one native one day had the temerity to question his motivation for moving here, or worse yet, tell him that he and his ilk are neither needed nor wanted here, and that pissed him off.

Right fred? "

I think that post got to me because for some reason they felt wronged by the 'system' because they couldn't live where grandma/gramp and mommy/daddy did, so it had to be someone's fault, but not theirs, it is the same entitlement attitude that plagues this country.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"he or she is a native of Marin"

If that poster was a Native American I do apologize.

Mar 26, 2006, 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that post got to me because for some reason they felt wronged by the 'system' because they couldn't live where grandma/gramp and mommy/daddy did, so it had to be someone's fault, but not theirs, it is the same entitlement attitude that plagues this country.

I hardly think it is an "entitlement" attitude to want the same things your parents and grandparents were able to have. My father bought his first house in Fairfax, a 3BR/2BA, in 1974 for $52,000. He was not trying to live some blissed-out Marin dream or trying to make a quick killing. He was providing shelter for his family. In 1974, a middle-class family with one moderate-sized income (i.e. us) could afford a decent-sized home in this county. That is no longer the case. I hardly think you can blame the native-born folks who spent their entire lives here for being upset that the system is now totally out of whack and they've had the rug pulled out from under them. Given that the population has not significantly increased since then, that makes it all the more ridiculous. Why shouldn't they be upset? You seem to be saying that they somehow don't deserve what their parents were able to have, that unlike their parents they are lazy or slackers or don't work as hard, and just expect everything to be handed to them - that they are the root of the problem, and not the drastically changed conditions in their home towns. I'm not really sure what your purpose is in posting here and acting as if you're some big winner in the increasingly Darwinian struggle to put a roof over one's head in this area, or if you're just some kid who's posting from his rich parents' basement and being a smart-aleck just for the hell of it (which is what I suspect), but I'm not going to respond to any more of your posts. They have a word for what you do in the blogosphere - it's called trolling.

Mar 26, 2006, 1:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was providing shelter for his family. In 1974, a middle-class family with one moderate-sized income (i.e. us) could afford a decent-sized home in this county.

I might add that it was just as nice then as now, the weather was just as good then as now, etc

Mar 26, 2006, 1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

They have a word for what you do in the blogosphere - it's called trolling.

My $0.02: fredtobik, whether you like it or not, does represent the (IMO unfortunate) opinion of a significant group of people in this county (and elsewhere).

So I am not sure "trolling" is a correct label. I'm not saying I agree with him/her or anything, but he is free to speak his mind as long as he is respectful to other people.

Mar 26, 2006, 1:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia:

In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who posts rude or offensive messages on the Internet, such as in online discussion forums, to disrupt discussion or to upset its participants (see Anonymous Internet posting). "Troll" can also mean the message itself or be a verb meaning to post such messages. "Trolling" is also commonly used to describe the activity.

Just sayin'.

Mar 26, 2006, 3:11:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

So I am not sure "trolling" is a correct label.

I'm not sure either, but when we spend a good amount of bandwidth discussing someone, that suggests something either about the reaction--or the individual. Best yet: refrain from personal attacks, and ignore people who incite them. Good reasoning is far more persuasive.

Mar 26, 2006, 5:06:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Best yet: refrain from personal attacks, and ignore people who incite them. Good reasoning is far more persuasive.

I second that.

Mar 26, 2006, 6:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'self-centered narcissism' has come from a bunch of New Englanders (a lot from NY)

NEW YORK CITY??!!

Mar 26, 2006, 8:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One phrase that sums it all up

"You seem to be saying that they somehow don't deserve what their parents were able to have "

Rephrased... Children of marin should be entitled to live in marin.

Children of marin don't deserve to live here by brith unless it is in their parents garage or basement. The culture of entitlement must go - and it will when this country is bankrupt. As you are analyzing the quoted statement, think about things that their (grand)parents/current homeowners have done to their collective children - restrictive zoning, horrible transportation infrastructure, budget deficits, timelessly preserved POSs, etc...

At least there is lots of windy, cold, undeveloped ag land left to feed the dwindling population here in the county. Too bad there aren't many carnivores.

Mar 26, 2006, 9:33:00 PM  
Blogger sf jack said...

Let's get this straight:

NY or NYC or *anything* New York is NOT New England.

Secondarily, I've been on Mt. Tam a lot and I can tell that many days the "views" of the Pacific are obscured by the "marine layer" (Californians fancy way of saying "fog").

Thirdly, since I saw a similar view just today, I can only guess the view of the white-capped (winter) or granite-lined (summer) Sierra from hiking vistas west of Davis are pretty spectacular.

Mar 26, 2006, 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight:

NY or NYC or *anything* New York is NOT New England.

Secondarily, I've been on Mt. Tam a lot and I can tell that many days the "views" of the Pacific are obscured by the "marine layer" (Californians fancy way of saying "fog").

Thirdly, since I saw a similar view just today, I can only guess the view of the white-capped (winter) or granite-lined (summer) Sierra from hiking vistas west of Davis are pretty spectacular.


And your point is?

Mar 26, 2006, 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my take on the "Best" of Marin. Marin is mostly second to choice areas of The City. Lots of the same people have multiple residences. Residences in places like Pacific Heights and SeaCliff in SF. Other homes in Tiburon/Belvedere, Ross/Kentfield and West Marin thrown in. Sometimes they might have homes at Pebble/Carmel. Oh, and don't forget The Lake...Tahoe that is...some of them have winter-only areas on the slopes at SugarBowl and on the lake at West Shore Tahoe.
Marin is just one of the jewels in their crowns. The prime areas I've listed are really just for the rich.

Mar 26, 2006, 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger sf jack said...

hey anon #457,822
(3/26/2006 11:40:01 PM) -

What do you think I was pointing out?

It's not that complex:

a) New York and New Yorkers are not from New England, nor are they New Englanders.

b) Marin has great views - sometimes obscured by fog.

c) Views of the Sierra from west of Davis are not awful, relative to Marin views of the Pacific; this despite what fred said (though perhaps that's not what he meant, according to his later comment).

Mar 27, 2006, 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous rejunkie said...

My theory on the continued "demand" is fewer persons per household enabled by artificially depressed rents (same artificial element that is simultanesously boosting values -- investors/speculators, of which I am one) enabling more Starbucks baristas to get their own places instead of hot-bunking with their co-workers. That, and all of us slack Gen-Xers who were never supposed to amount to anything and would not live as well as their parents did, moving out of the house and (shock!) buying their own places.

BTW, as a SF-born, Marin raised 30-something, I still live here, own investment properties here, have several high school and college friends here in Novato and San Rafael and our very young children have a new generation of other Marin natives (not Native Americans, fred (BTW, LOL)) to grow up with. Yes, it has been a harder road for me than it was for my parents moving to TL in 1971 but I did it anyway as have many of my peers.

I hardly think it is an "entitlement" attitude to want the same things your parents and grandparents were able to have.

That absolutely is an entitlement attitude. It may take more work, creativity and education to gain a toehold here but I never felt entitled to it, nor should anyone else. As someone who has lived here 27 of the past 34 years (a few overseas stints broke things up) I continue to feel lucky, not entitled, to live here. And frankly, it is a nice feeling to know you live in the place you want to remain in for the rest of your life. Alot of people who post here seem frustrated/depressed/irritated by their choice of residence. To me, life is too short and you should find sowewhere that makes you happy, whether it is Marin, Sacramento, NYC, or, god forbid, Texas.

Mar 27, 2006, 5:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tahoe sucks.

Mar 27, 2006, 5:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tahoe sucks.
I guess it would especially if you're staying at The Luck Dice Motel at South Shore!!

Mar 27, 2006, 8:19:00 PM  

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