The Orange Curtain and the dynamic between Orange County and the Inland Empire: How much is a commute worth?

When people think of gentrification, they normally think of tiny sections within a city.  But what we are seeing today is global gentrification.  For example, in Orange County, the most expensive county in Southern California many people have been pushed into the Inland Empire.  Yet the actual employment boom is happening in LA and OC making millions of people commute ungodly hours on the jam packed soul crushing freeways.  The Orange Curtain highlights a subtle massive gentrification of an entire county.  You have Orange County with a median home price of $710,000 and just a few miles inward you have Riverside County with a median home price of $330,000.  The fastest growing counties in SoCal are with Riverside and San Bernardino.  In the end, how much is a commute worth though?

The Orange Curtain

I’ve heard many people using the 5 freeway and the 91 as a cutoff for the Orange Curtain.  Given the growth in many OC areas, I would actually place the “curtain” where the toll roads lead into the 91 and the official start of Riverside County.  There are many driving factors for the big price divide especially when many parts of OC have good schools and are close to work.  Yet there are many areas of OC that have poor performing schools and actually have high levels of crime.  There is still plenty of room to expand – just look at the massive building happening in places like Irvine (although many of the new homes are being sold to foreigners, largely from China).  In fact the typical new home in OC now hit a peak of $934,000.  For your debt laden Millennial couple, this might be a big stretch.  But big money from abroad is still flowing in.

For locals that simply can’t compete, many are moving into rentals or are moving further inland.  Here is the Orange Curtain:


Source:  Zillow

The commute is absolutely brutal here.  As you move to the coast, the number of jobs increases because of major city hubs.  Roughly 40 percent of people that live in the Inland Empire commute into LA and OC for work.  And these are the fastest growing areas in SoCal:


What does this mean?  Commutes are only going to get worse.  I had to drive into the Inland Empire a couple of months ago during peak hours and it took me 2 hours each way for roughly 40 miles.  That is mind numbing to do once but to do it every day?  These types of commutes are bad for your health and also your psychology.

Yet people are drawn into the “I need a home mentality” and are buying places out in the Inland Empire because of this:



The cost of a home in Riverside County is half the cost of a home in Orange County. What is also interesting is that in SoCal, the coastal regions tend to be more democratic and Orange County, a typically red county voted for a democratic president for the first time since the Great Depression:


“(LA Times) It’s little comfort for Democrats who are devastated that Hillary Clinton lost the White House, but she managed to do something no Democrat has done since the Great Depression: win Orange County, a bastion of conservatism.

Clinton beat Donald Trump by nearly five percentage points, or 39,000 votes, in the county, which is a national symbol for the GOP — the home to Richard Nixon and the cradle of Ronald Reagan’s conservatism.”

It almost seems as the area gets more expensive (i.e., San Francisco) the more democratic it becomes.  Riverside County tends to vote more conservative as well although this is a recent shift since the price of a home in the Inland Empire might be too much for some and they simply leave the state:


I think a lot of this trend has to do with the massive rise in renting households and contrary to house humping bubble lovers stuck in their HGTV granite countertop inspired sarcophagus, for every household that can afford a crap shack you have three or four that are displaced or feel their wallet is getting smashed.  That commute can’t foster good will.  Is the commute worth it to own a home?  Many think so.  With oil becoming cheaper, the pain isn’t so bad but what if oil gets back to $100 a barrel or more?  Think that isn’t possible?  Oil is already up dramatically for the year:


The end result is we are seeing a massive shift in SoCal dynamics.  With 22 million people living in this region and population growing, especially in the Inland Empire, you can expect more people crowding into the coastal regions for work and visits.  The Orange Curtain is a real thing and has only gotten more pronounced in the last couple of years.

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185 Responses to “The Orange Curtain and the dynamic between Orange County and the Inland Empire: How much is a commute worth?”

  • I am 25, make good money. I can actually afford my $2,100 a month apartment in Hollywood, have a leased car, save lots of money, and go out with friends. But if I were to buy a condo it would be $500-600K for a similar unit. That is not anywhere close to rental parity. What a crooked system when locals can’t even buy in their own neighborhood.

    I’m sure people said World War II wouldn’t happen that fast after World War I, but it did. This housing market is the same deal, it has NOT been fixed and needs another treatment of Draino.

    When your mortgage is $3,500 a month and you lose your job, unemployment is not going to cover that and you spent all your savings on a down payment… you’re screwed.

    • You are much closer to rental parity than you think, especially if you are talking about a 500K condo. And yes…this takes into account a 20% downpayment. There is no magic here, it’s simple math.

      • Yeah, a 20% down payment to the tune of 100-120K. Nothing to fret over. Talk about rental parody.

      • Lord is correct….

        Prince welcome to LA where two thirds of properties are rentals…..

        $120K is what it takes to play the game

        $500K is absolutely rental parity at $2000-$2200 rent per month

        …… Parody is for the renting actors scraping by

      • Spare me the tears. Even in flyover country where you can buy nice houses for 250k all day long, that means having a 50k downpayment. Beg, borrow, steal or better yet start saving. Nobody ever said owning a home in nice parts of socal would be easy. Coming up with that downpayment separates the contenders from the pretenders.

      • Lord,

        Good point, and don’t forget you can buy a home in CA at the same price as flyover country with an hour commute.

        Cry me a river is correct

      • @LB

        Besides those that you shed when imploring others to buy at current prices, what tears were you referring to? I stated the reality of rental parity that so many RE bulls love to brush aside. 100+K is a ridiculous, if not unrealistic, initial risk to sink into any consumption item for the majority of the middle class.
        Beg, borrow, and steal just for the chance to take on unsustainable debt? Desperate words indeed.

      • @NoTank

        You’d probably get better odds and have a better time buying in at a casino. Welcome to the huge gambling game that is the real estate market funded by taxpayers.

      • Hotel California

        Prince, you’re right on the money. These guys are making up their own definition of parity premised on assumptions about the future.

        The acquisition costs don’t align between the two scenarios.

        You cannot make an equal comparison between a refundable deposit of $2100 vs $100,000 fixed cost without knowing exactly how all downstream variables will play out. It’s still a gamble subject to future loss, and that’s why suggesting to people they should buy based on two dynamic values at a fixed point in time is “parody”.

      • And I am sure you included the $16,500 a year property taxes (on $550,000) in your calculation… $1,375 a month is no chump change.

      • @Manbearpig:

        You need to study up on the actual costs of owning RE in CA. As was mentioned below, your yearly taxes are likely off my a factor of 3. Tax rates vary from city to city in CA, they are generally in the range of 1.0 to 1.25%. That is a fact.

        Places like Texas have very high taxes, which is almost never discussed here. People think they are smart moving there to buy a 300K Mcmansion and then realize their property tax bill is close to 10K per year.

        Rental parity calculations are simple math. As with any math equation, the inputs need to be correct.

      • “Places like Texas have very high taxes, which is almost never discussed here. People think they are smart moving there to buy a 300K Mcmansion and then realize their property tax bill is close to 10K per year.”

        Except you are missing the fact that a 300k House will have great schools, newer house (in the year 2000+) and larger lot. An equivalent house (lot, sqft, school ratings) in Los Angeles would be above 800k.

        800k @ 1% = 8000
        300k @ 2% = 6000

        Have you seen HOAs in Texas? I’ve seen some in the $20.00 Range i.e. 1 Andrew Jackson (Soon-to-be Harriet Tubman… wtf?)

        A low HOA in LA is 250 minimum and I’ve seen them all the way up to $800 in some places with about 3-400 being the norm.

      • @McDuck

        Good luck finding good schools in Houston or Dallar at $300K.

        The top schools where the best jobs are and high incomes in TX you are looking at $500-800K

      • Hotel California

        McDuck, another consideration being missed is that a higher tax to cost ratio in a state like Texas ends up getting the homeowner a better government subsidy due to the property tax deduction. Then there’s no income tax, whereas we get raped in California on taxes and fees with stifling congestion and Prop 13 lottery winners to show for it, good times!

    • Thirty years ago I was in your same position. I had moved to SF and was renting. To buy an equivalent space would have been around $500,000 and I thought that was insane. Today that $500,000 home would cost over $4,000,000. In retrospect, buying would have been a great idea but at the time it didn’t make sense. A crystal ball would have been nice to have. I eventually did buy after I was evicted so the owner could take advantage of the huge increase in rental prices. I was lucky because now my house is worth roughly double what I paid for it. I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people out there who can afford very expensive homes and they all want to live along the coast. Prices are not coming down in any appreciable way. Maybe a war with China or Korea or an earthquake will soften prices on the west coast but it’s going to take something of that magnitude before prices ever move down.

      • “This time is different,” right? Sorry, but prices always fluctuate, and a significant drop (20-30%+) is inevitable. A larger drop is possible. Less on the coast, more inland, but both WILL drop. That’s coming from someone who just put $217k down and fully expects to (temporarily) lose most of it, so you know I’m not biased.

      • “Maybe a war with China or Korea or an earthquake will soften prices on the west coast but it’s going to take something of that magnitude before prices ever move down.”

        So, in 2009, which one of your scenarios pushed the prices down 30-50% (depending on the location)????…..Oh!!!…nobody saw that coming. They will say the same thing next time.

        I agree that long term, RE is worth buying and holding. I have plenty of RE – in millions. However, when you buy makes a huge difference. It is what separate the successful investors from losers. 7,000,000 lost their homes 7-8 years ago, while I increased my portfolio at the same time.

        My strategy is very simple – buy when everyone want to sell and sell when everyone wants to buy. When people think that this time is different and prices will go to the moon, that is when I am selling. Recently I sold two properties for good appreciation. I bid my time for when I am going to increase my portfolio again.

      • Absolutely when you buy makes a huge difference. My neighbor just sold their house for $600K, which was about $225K when built in 2001. Sounds pretty good, right?

        Well, they bought the house for $540K in 2006. Over 10 years later, they lost a TON of money once you subtract financing charges, sales commission, buyer’s fees, maintenance, property tax. Then there is the opportunity costs on their down payment.

        So when is that house going to double to $1.2M? Hah! It could be literally decades from 2006 until that happens. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes another 20 years. And at that point, they would be lucky to have kept even with inflation.

    • ManBearPig,

      FYI, taxes in CA are not that high… on a $500K condo you are looking at $5000-6000… and since it’s tax deductible it’s more like $3800-$4500…

      …and yes that is included in the rental parity calculation.

      In TX you could pay $16K on a $500K house.

      • But there are places where housing prices AND taxes are low. If you save up 1-200K for a downpayment and stop to think, maybe bailing to one of those places and retiring early is a better plan. Even if you win the rat race youre still a rat!

      • Stop with the tax comparison to Texas solely looking at price. 500k would not get you a shat condo in Texas. 250k would get you a house with 6000+ SQFT of land in a good school area. The condo in LA would be a minimum 300 payment. When doing comparisons to Texas on property taxes, pick similar type properties not prices.

        Shat Condo @ 500k @ 1% = 5000
        Starter Home built in the 2000+ years @ 250k @ 2% = 5000

        The Tax Man always gets paid. In California, you’ll pay twice as long and for way less than half the value of Texas. Sadly, home (cali) is where the heart is.

      • @McDuck

        Good luck finding good schools at $250K in Houston, Dallas or Austin.

        That is a pipe dream… those areas with the top income white collar workers top schools are $500-800K+

        $250K put you in blue collar and rentersville, or rural…. poor eduction systems.

      • Hotel California

        The tax advantage only matters after netting out the standard deduction, $3800 or so probably doesn’t move the needle for most people.

        Homeowners in states like Texas which due to higher property taxes forming a larger share of the cost ratio are subject to a greater tax deductible benefit and they’re not paying income taxes while still getting the same standard deduction as homeowners in CA.

      • @NoTankinSight

        I’ve been to Houston once and found what you described as impossible in The Woodlands, TX. Very beautiful area but somewhat far out of Houston. So I did a “pipe dream” search and found this listing. If you don’t like that house then you can find a handful more in that same vicinity.

        Here is one in South Houston.

        Also, in Dallas, there are tons of what I’ve described in Plano and McKinney TX. I know of an acquaintance that moved there. I, however, am not familiar about the Dallas region.

        Now, can you help me find a 225k condo in a good school district in Los Angeles and if you do, was it built in the 2000’s with an hoa sub $100? And would it have a bedroom or would it just be a studio?

        I’m 30 y/o & make only 70k in Los Angeles, where would you buy a starter unit? I work in Santa Monica and don’t want to commute longer than 30 minutes. All signs point to impossible for my situation so I guess I rent until a slow down or build up of inventory. 1 bedroom units are renting at 1800 after steadily increasing from 1600 a few years ago. I have zero debt and if I took out 350k mortgage I’d be looking at about what I rent and most likely there would be an HOA sending my rent payment plus $3-400. Nothing desirable at that price-point so THAT is the “pipe dream”

        In all seriousness. Any advice?

    • Do what makes you comfortable! Everyone has an opinion and their own rationale for doing what they do! I happen to think many Californian’s are in for a rude surprise does the road, especially homeowners! And given the rat race that is a place like L.A., why would you think you can enjoy any of the amenities anyway! Few live close enough to the beach to make it a daily or weekly trek, and unless you are a teacher with a rich pension waiting for you and summers off, you are either at work, in your car, or haven’t got the money to splurge on the fun stuff, which make it a rather depressing life!

      • alex in San Jose

        This. Unless you can put on your beach clothes and literally walk across the street, at most, you can just forget about going to the beach.

    • I don’t think $2100/mo for rent is at parity with buying. Let’s say his condo is worth $550K and he has a $110K down payment. Since its a condo, it will certainly have an HOA of at least $250/mo. Mortgage, taxes, HOA and insurance are going to run $3,022/mo.

      Now, you also have to add the opportunity costs for the $110K down payment, but who really knows is stocks or housing is the better long term investment at this point, so we’ll ignore that. There is also the possibility of deducting mortgage interest, but it depends a lot on your income, and Trump may eliminate that with the increased standard deduction. It’s also not as big a factor as people are led to believe. So we’ll call these things a wash.

      That means rental parity is closer to $3,000/mo. Some might say it is lower because there is some satisfaction from owning a home. But owning a home also ties you down, especially in the job market.

      If his condo rent was at least $2,700/mo, and he planned on staying put for a while, buying might make sense. But at $2,100/mo, its not a clear decision to buy by any means.

  • son of a landlord

    Orange County has gentrified? I remember back in the 1990s, Anaheim and Santa Ana were pretty crappy areas. Is that no longer the case?

  • The voting pattern in OC has changed for the same reason as everywhere else in California-IMMIGRATION. Except for a few narrow strips along the coast and other “pockets”, whites have left OC and have been replaced by Hispanics and Asians. Both groups vote almost exclusively Democratic.

    Most of the whites in the Inland Empire that I grew up with have either left the state or moved to the high desert, Banning-Beaumont, or Temecula (70-80 mile commutes from LA). Those areas will soon be overrun by the Mexican-Central American invasion. California is now a Hispanic state with a one-party, socialist government just like in Mexico. The Democrats just achieved the 2/3 super majority (and now, California Assembly 54% Hispanic ) that will allow them to raise taxes with no opposition–along with endless new wealth redistribution programs for needy “immigrants”. They just voted in bi-lingual education–making Mexico’s native language equal to the American common language. In other words, another step toward conquest.

    The changes in the last 5 years are breathtaking. Every open space in the (once open spaced) inland empire are being converted to mega warehouses and high density housing. During the 15 freeway fire closure last summer I had to make a trip to Pasadena. The normal 2-3 hour drive from Pasadena to the Inland Empire was cut in half. At night, parked cars line the streets bumper to bumper for the entire length of the street–multiple adults living in one house. At night, the backup on the 15 freeway to the high desert starts at the 60 and goes all the way to the Cajon Pass where the 15 and 215 freeways converge at the bottom of the pass going to the high desert.

    Multiple adults/families in one house and endless welfare benefits pooled together to drive up the price of the scarce housing supply. Any wonder why the price of homes are out of control? So, just like in Mexico, a few wealthy at the top and the rest of us all in one mass underclass. The few left in the middle class supporting the rest–at least, until the whole thing collapses.

    • That is so true Jeff. I was writing about this phenomena many times before. In ten years the population increased by 10,000,000 and the number of taxpayers by 150,000. The rich guys from the top make laws to benefit them and the few in the middle who are still considered middle class pay for all – the super rich and the mass of poor people.

      The standard of living for the middle class and upper middle class who continue living in SoCal will continue to deteriorate year by year till you see the same phenomena you see in socialist South American countries – few billionaires at the top and the rest part of mass poverty with almost no middle class.

      Since this picture is very clear in my mind and since my vote never counted in CA, I voted with my feet – the best move I ever did.

      • flyover, i think you often make very good points on this forum. can i ask where you moved to when you left CA and if there is anything at all you miss? something my family has considered too because of all of the factors you have mentioned before.

      • Where to move in flyover country depends on these factors:

        1. What type of climate do you prefer.
        2. Where are you relatively close to family or friends? Most people are not hermits and they like to interact with others and have parties.
        3 Are you retired (live on passive income), have a business you can move anywhere or have a need of a job?
        4. What is the taxation environment of the state you go to?
        5. Do you like big crowded cities or medium cities or small cities?

        Only you can answer these questions. Personally I like Washington, North Carolina, Kentucky and North Idaho. N. Carolina and Kentucky not so much because they are kind of humid and I prefer the dry weather. North Idaho I like it for 8 months of the year because the winters are kind of cold for my taste; Sandpoint and Coeur D’alene are beautiful.
        I like WA because it doesn’t have income tax and property taxes are lower than TX. It has rainy climate on the coast and dry climate in Eastern WA. As a result I prefer eastern WA. For a larger city, Tricities have very dry weather and lots of jobs. I like Walla Walla for being smaller, lots of wineries (more than 140), lots of restaurants and the “cool” factor. It was declared in the top 10 retirement destinations, considering taxation, hospitals, universities, very mild winters; not too many jobs.

        So, US being a big country, there are lots of places which look far better to me than SoCal. SoCal has some nice areas along the coast but are way overpriced for the value they offer.

      • St George UT is nice for retirees but they tax Social Security, so that is like an extra 2K in state taxes there. AZ is around 3k less that UT , and 1K less than Cali in state income taxes. Prescott is nice, but cold winters. Tucson seems to have better weather. Walla Walla WA (leftist state)is cold in winter. What do you think?

      • IRA,

        Tucson has some nice areas, but it is too big of a city for my liking. I know some like big cities and it would be nice for those. Many parts of Tucson have bad crime areas. Also, in my opinion it is too dry. Tucson as a city is way more liberal than Walla Walla. Walla Walla and the whole Eastern WA is as red (conservative) as TX. After all, those liberals from Seattle do not interfere with the local politics. Even at the state level, they can lose power any day because the population in Eastern WA (about equal with the population on the coast) is very conservative. They know that and they are very moderate being afraid of losing power. The state congress is by and large republican. Ocasionaly, like this week, winters can be cold. Overall, the winters (averages) are very mild and short. More than half of the time it doesn’t get any snow. When they do, snow melts really fast because of Chinook winds. It is true it has 4 seasons and I understand some people don’t like 4 seasons. Others don’t like the weather to be always the same (it gets boring for some).

        I like St. George but it is too far from coast (ocean) and very dry. Walla Walla is greener.

    • alex in San Jose

      In flyover country you can get two people making minimum wage, making a total of $20 or so an hour, and that can buy a house. With a garden, maybe a few chickens, and can make out fine. In California you need about 7 people making min. wage to make $70 an hour and even then it’s a squeeze. But you get 2-3 people making $50 an hour and they’ve got ’em beat. Up where I am in the Bay Area, you’ve got people making over $100k a year living like they’re still in college, with room mates.

  • “The Orange Curtain”. Should be the Trumpian term to describe the deep and complex relationship between the U.S and China. The Iron Curtain is so passe.

  • Housing to Tank Hard Soon!

  • Trump economic policies should cause a big increase in inflation. OC housing will be going much higher. In 20 years, you will be telling stories about how an entry level home cost less than 1M way back in 2015. People will shake their head in disbelief.

    • Buy now or be priced out forever
      There has never been a better time to buy (ignore previous downturns)
      [Insert city name] has been gentrified
      [Insert city name] is becoming an international destination like Paris, London, and New York are.
      Real estate is the key to building wealth

      • LOL……we’ve heard all this bullshit before haven’t we Prince.

      • Hotel California

        You forgot everyone wants to live here and this place is different.

      • @MJ

        Such a huge pile of shyat that you would need wings to stay on top of it


        Any day, I’m waiting for the NAR to state that stagnating prices is a good sign that prices are returning to their normal rate of growth.

    • “…In 20 years, you will be telling stories about how an entry level home cost less than 1M way back in 2015…”

      Help me out.

      Where is the corresponding increase in wages to accommodate even higher prices going to come from? Or, from this point forward, are home purchases only going to be made by the Chinese?

    • Seen it all before Bob

      We’ll see what inflation does. In 1970 if you bought a house for $60K, it was worth $225K in 1990 just due to inflation. If we have the same rampant inflation as we did in the 70’s and 80’s, the $600K house today, will be worth $2.25M in 20 years. Wages didn’t quite track inflation during the 70’s and 80’s but housing did. If you think high inflation will make a comeback, it would be best to buy now with a 4% fixed rate mortgage and hold on. I was envious of my parent’s 5% mortgage on a $45K house (1972) when I bought my first house in 1987 for $200K with a 12% Fixed rate mortgage.

    • troll post is obvious!!!

      you have just signaled a market top.

    • higher interest rates means that the prices of the homes will go down.

    • Inflation is good. Low Inflation means oc hits a million which it will not since the population is aging. When inflation was high in the 1970’s houses in Orange County where under 100,000 when is low its 650,000 including the old houses in Santa Ana and Anaheim not 700,000 like the author writes. Inflation will be a good thing and lower housing prices in the OC by 100,000 to 200,000 in the next decade. Inflation good, low inflation bad. Real estate people keep mortgage rates low which drives up the cost of housing with low inflation.

    • Seen this all before, Bob

      Housing prices have historically always risen to match or exceed inflation since 1900.
      Housing is possibly not the best investment but has always matched or exceeded inflation for over 100 years. When inflation increased, so did housing prices. I experienced this during the high inflation decades of the 70’s and 80’s. Interest rates from 1986 to 1987 went up 1-2%, Inflation inflation went up 1-2% and housing prices went up 1-2%
      Here are some charts over the last 100+ years.
      “So, what’s the result of over 100 years of ups and downs in the housing market? The bottom line, somewhat surprisingly, is that the average annual price increase for U.S. homes from 1900 to 2012 was only 0.1%/year after inflation! ”

  • I am retired and fortunate enough to live in a Southern California beach town and have the luxury to travel frequently. After the election, which totally shocked me, I decided to take a long distance road trip and see how the rest of the country lives, and figure out what I am not seeing. Barstow, Needles, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, and not a whole lot in between, to me this is flyover country. I stopped and talked to people and observed how they lived and tried to see things from their point of view, because I must be missing something from my upper middle class point of view. I discovered that if I was stuck living in the middle of Nowheresville and working at the Waffle House for minimum wage, or driving a stupid truck 12 hours a day and only seeing my family a few times a month, I would be angry, I would be so pissed off that I would vote for an angry racist for president on the slight chance that he might make things better for me, they can’t get any worse. They all see images of the sweet life here in coastal California, but they have zero chance of achieving it short of winning the lottery.
    You speak of the Orange Curtain, I’ll refer to the Coastal Strip, if you live within 10 miles of the coast, Life is good, you don’t need air conditioning, you can ride your bike at the beach, everything is close by, commuting is something others deal with. If you can’t afford to live on the Coastal Strip, live is hard, for the reasons you indicated, San Bernardino is no different than Oklahoma City or Amarillo Texas, a big city so far away from the good life that it is out of reach. Yes, many on this board point out that they can afford a house in Texas, and yes there are jobs in the big cities, but how many people aspire to live there by choice? Housing is expensive in desirable areas because people want to live there, it’s competitive, not everyone can afford it.
    I know that I am fortunate, but I like to think that it is due to hard work and frugal living, Yes I got some breaks along the way, but basically I stuck to “the plan”. First a career, then a family, then retirement …. stay focused, it can be done if you want it bad enough.

    • Enjoyed your post a lot! Thank you!

    • I left So. Cal. and the close proximity to the beach several years ago. I left because of the arrogance of people like you who are absolutely out-of-touch and look down on everyone who isn’t trendy or chic. I could never understand the culture of people who say they are for the little guy, yet wouldn’t dare get off the freeway and venture through all those barrios that make up 4/5’s of L.A. First, the beaches aren’t that great anymore … they are overrun on nice days, you can’t leave anything in the car or it will be stolen that is if you can find a place to park, and you’d better watch where you walk or you might step on a used syringe or broken glass. The water is cold most of the year and you’d better look up the coliform count before entering the water! Second, there are way more normal places especially to raise families where smaller town traditions still exist, where families are more connected, and where you can stretch your arms and not hit the neighbor, and even places whereto can actually go for a swim in a clean lake! Heck, I can even hike in pristine wilderness, my taxes are reasonable, and the neighbors, who aren’t close enough to see, really do watch our for one another. But, please, stay in your little bubble world!

      • Where did you move to?

        I’ve left 3 times…. made the same arguments each time… and always came back.

      • Damn Strait. I am an avid surfer, former lifeguard, and stay for the beach lifestyle. About ready to give up on the SoCal dream for all the points you mentioned. Spot on JNS.

        I am a person of white privilege and no stranger to family and friends with the penurious Libertarian mindset.

        Corruption and Corporatism are the future despite the shift to a latino population in Ca and state house super majority. The macro forces at play all favor the oligarchs not those who propose new state taxes to “give to the recent immigrants” as one poster noted. In fact those taxes won’t amount to a drop in the bucket compared to the public funds rape that occurred in the FIRE bailout over the last 8 years.

        Taxes all went to the oligarch the Fiscal policy to create growth never happened. What a joke. All those scared of higher taxes are the penurious sods who feel that every low class citizen is too lazy to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

        Time for the system to change my friends.

      • I never understood the appeal. I lived in West Hollywood/Hollywood Hills for 15 years, and we’ve now been in Portland for two years. I’m actually on a plane to L.A. right now typing this message, and I’m dreading even visiting L.A., let alone feeling a desire to ever move back.

        As an upper middle class 30-something with a family, a lot of the mid-sized cities like Portland are paradise.

      • Thank you! I grew up in “flyover” country and it’s not bad. You develop good relationships with good people and enjoy life. There just is not much opportunity if you have a college degree.

        There are good people in CA but most can’t speak English or are like the original poster who clearly did not talk to these people and get to know THEM. This poster just probably sat at a bar in his sweater playing with his phone and judged others talking around him (if this trip was even real).

        Also am sick of hearing the “Trump is a racist” line. You all are the same, never backing up your claims with real examples.

      • I didn’t find that post condescending. I am planning my retirement home along the coast – just not in the USA. I used to live on The Strand back in the day when a 3Br place was $900 a month (yeah I am old). Living in Manhattan Beach was really cool; I rarely had any reason to go east of Sepulveda. Some places are going to get flooded with retiring Californios maybe Reno?

      • It was a challenge finding a parking place for the beach on a nice weekend day in 1967.

      • I live in Santa Monica within a 20 minute walk to the beach. I have run barefoot on the beach for decades (most recently just a few days ago – no shoes and no shirt) and never once stepped on the broken glass, crack pipes and trash you say litter the beach. My apartment doesn’t have air conditioning nor does it need it, and I use the heat only a few times a year. It sounds like you are trying hard to put down So Cal so you can feel better about where ever you ended up

    • Past experience is not guarantee of future performance. You were fortunate to have made your fortune at a time when the U.S. was more far more sound economically and and politically. Job losses due to technological obsolescence, outsourcing, and offshoring were a mere fraction of what they are now. Real wage growth has been stagnant over the past 20+ years.

      Housing is currently expensive because the government and central banks have encouraged a culture of risky asset over-speculation through cheap and easy credit policies. Feel lucky that this was relatively muted during your peak earning years.

      • This hits the nail.
        I am in the industry which is seeing flight as well as obliteration of high paying jobs ( $150K/year ) because of the combination of automation, advances in technology ie AI/Machine-Learning, Outsourcing to cheaper places. I can see that over time, middle class in USA would be gone for sure…

    • I get what you were trying to accomplish with this post, but in the process you dissed a huge portion of the population. I grew up relatively poor, moved to Del Mar and rented, now thoroughly middle class in the IE, and a lifelong roadtripper to flyover country. I envy the life that many of them have, and they know how lucky they are. They aren’t all angry at their circumstances, and in fact in my experience they’re happier on average (which is likely the reason people are generally more friendly and more willing to engage the farther you get from the large population centers). If I was in a position to join them, I would, and eventually will.

    • That all sounded very arrogant. In your own mind you were a king leaving his hilltop castle and riding by chariot to see how the plebs living in the valley below you.

      So Cal sucks, I lived there for many years (Del Mar, La Jolla, Santa Monica, Encinitas.) For the life of me I cannot see why you people think it is Valhalla.

      You are probably the most down to earth person in the coastal CA region and you still seem like you’re in outer space to me. I’d rather have the guy and gal working at the Waffle House house you speak of as a neighbor.

      I’m a Californian and the comments I see from fellow Californians makes me want to watch CA slide into the ocean. I’m willing to ride it down for the greater good of our nation.

      • “So Cal sucks, I lived there for many years (Del Mar, La Jolla, Santa Monica, Encinitas.)”

        Dude, you were winning! Where do you live now?

    • Paul,

      Upper-middle-class life in the flyover states isn’t all that different from that life in CA. Not all of us are/were lucky enough to hit the Prop 13 jackpot, which I’m going to assume that you did.

      I do sincerely hope that CA secedes from the rest of the US, I’ll have my popcorn ready.

    • son of a landlord

      You speak of the Orange Curtain, I’ll refer to the Coastal Strip, if you live within 10 miles of the coast, Life is good,

      There are some pretty scuzzy areas, even some ghetto areas, nearer the beach than 10 miles. Del Rey, Inglewood, etc.

      • I would hardly call Del Rey “scuzzy”… can’t buy anything livable there for less than a million, there is a whole foods down the street, and the schools aren’t even that bad.

      • son of a landlord

        Forever Renting: I would hardly call Del Rey “scuzzy”… can’t buy anything livable there for less than a million, there is a whole foods down the street, and the schools aren’t even that bad.

        Culver City is more expensive and allegedly has better school. Yet I’ve seen houses in eastern CC listed at over a million, while the neighboring houses have bars on the windows.

        So yeah, I find Del Rey, and even parts of Culver City, to be scuzzy.

    • “I am retired”

      translation, y9ou bought when a house was a house. I have a friend that was an iron-worker in the 70’s/80’s (retired now) and he could almost buy a house for one years wages…….that’s not “smart” that’s luck… it what it is please.

      “I would vote for an angry racist”

      that’s just brainwashing. America is dying because no one is allowed to tell the truth whit out being labeled a racist and that just shuts down all the discussion.

    • There are people like you (Paul), Clinton and the like who look down their noses to all the “unwashed deplorables” who caused Trump to be in the white house. He was not elected there because he is racist. He was the “molotov cocktail” from the forgotten middle class to the so called “elites”. Anything to disturb their smug attitude.

      I am not saying this because I am jealous. I have enough wealth. I am saying this because people like you, Clinton and Obama were heavily supported by the FED through all the ZIRP and QEs. You are not where you are because you are smarter than others or work harder than others. You are where you are because the FED picks winners and losers. A small banking cabal destroyed the lives of most people in this nation. They did that to save the banks who own the FED. Instead of having a free market where the stupid bankers who played the derivative casino be left to lose, the FED interfered to save those few buddies bankers and let millions lose their livelihood and homes. Do you want all 330,000,000 millions of people to live in those 10 miles from the shore in SoCal to be “smart” like you?

      This is not an opinion, it is a fact. The income inequality is not caused by smarts but actions by the FED. I positioned myself to benefit from it and I benefited tremendously. I can not eliminate the FED but at least I am humble to recognize why I am where I am. In a free market economy, I agree that those smart and hardworking can get rich. However we no longer have a free market economy; we have a central planned economy by a small number of oligarchs who own the FED. That resembles more a communist country than a capitalist one.

      Due to those actions by the FED, the millenials don’t have a chance to get into RE. They have only two options left for them: play and lose or don’t play and still lose.

      Are you humble enough to admit that I am right???!!!!….

      • +10
        Thanks for the friendly reminder that the RE market and economy has been heavily manipulated for the elite .0001%. Nobody who is not part of this select elite should feel safe about their future. 401k’s can be sliced in half on a whim. Retirement plans can become insolvent over night. The rich will always have top priority at the federal and Fed soup line.

      • “The millennials don’t have a chance to get into RE” because student loans. My generation didn’t have them very much.

      • Love this! The Millenial struggle is real. I started work in 2008 after grad school and I’ve had benefits cut every year and the 2.5% standard raise — while rent goes up, up, up and student loans gotta be paid. It feels like most of the non-tech Millenials are moonlighting as Uber drivers and have roommates even into their 30s. At least having money in stocks feels i get to eat some of Yellen’s cake crumbs.

    • Yes, you are trapped in your neighborhood. The traffic is like a parking lot, you have to choose what time of day that you can make your escape. You truly live in a bubble. That life is not for me. I like the wide open spaces. I live Kerrville TX, but I do have a place on PCH near Zuma, it is not a bad drive to the SMO airport and then I am out of here.

  • Here we go with another Inland Empire thread. Where to start?

    I worked in the South Bay for 15 years. I have lived in seven cities including Cerritos, Glendale, Hollywood, Fontana, and Riverside. Each of those areas could not be more different.

    I know this thread is about Orange County, but there are similarities to LA County. I believe the Orange Curtain is a similar mentality to people thinking that anything east of Pasadena is the Inland Empire.

    One of the basic facts about this metropolitan area is that there are two different types of people. There are people along the water areas, that have a lot of money, maybe they’re immigrants brinnging their money with them, and the area is also filled with tremendous amounts of poot mmigrants too. It’s like a big mosaic, I really don’t like the term Melting Pot. I think mosaic is much more descriptive.

    Another fact is that Orange County is generally nice, with pockets of ghetto. LA county is generally ghetto, with pockets of nice.

    This all adds up to, is a desirable area where wealth is able to own a piece of it. The rest of the people are crammed together in high-density housing. What does this mean for the average American?

    It means you have to drive to your suburban house. If your making 25 to $30 an hour, amd your spouse is too, you’re not going to lunch until you start getting out around Covina or Brea. Everyday from the South Bay, and I know it’s true down around Irvine too, dozens upon dozens of Van pools and bus pools and car pools make the trek into those areas every da,y and out to Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga,

    The Inland Empire is simply an area that people can afford. It has its good parts and bad parts, stay away from San Bernardino, Colton, Rialto. Also stay away from the area south of downtown Riverside. But other than that, you would be seriously surprised at how nice a lot of the areas are. Chino Hills, Hawarden Hills, Redlands, northern Upland, Rancho Cucamonga,( even Yucaipa and Murietta could possibly be thrown into this) are areas just as nice as any other nice place in Southern California.

    I will also absolutely thrown the caveat, that yes the Inland Empire is very similar to flyover country. But the thing is is that Coastal California is special, and like I said before it’s for the wealthy. Suburban America is generally the same no matter where you go, except at least in the Inland Empire you’re only an hour from Orange County or LA County amenities

    • Hotel California

      Feasting on exhaust fumes whilst stuck in a van or car certainly does seem to make for a “special” place.

    • How is Rancho Cucamonga nice? Only the tiny northern area close to northern Upland.

      • I live in the area you describe in N. Rancho Cucamonga (it’s actually Alta Loma, part of the three former cities that make up Rancho – 1. Alta Loma 2. Etiwanda 3. Cucamonga). Basically most of Rancho is OK, although there’s some sketchy areas around Archibald and Arrow Rte.

        Where I am, all homes are on at least 1/2 acre lots, most homes built in the mid-70s to mid-80s (mine built in 1986) and many people have horses around here. You could more or less define the best areas of Rancho as anything on the North side of the 210 freeway, which includes parts of the 91701, 91737, and 91739 zip codes.

        I bought this house for 350K as an REO back in 2010, now valued at just north of 1M (according to Zillow, if you believe them – I don’t). Taxes are low, traffic is much better than OC, air is cleaner higher up (I’m at 2200ft. elevation). We love it here, but I don’t have to commute, which helps. Everyone’s situation is different.

  • I also feel that fundamentals are on the housing market’s side this time. Federal interest rates are never going to go up, they simply cannot. Ever. There’s also overcrowding, lack of building, and loans that are being given out in solid qualification footing. I do not think the prices are going to skyrocket, I think they’re pretty maxed out around where they are, but they’re not going to crash. You’re not going to get a house in Torrance for $200,000.

    • I was told the same thing in 2006 as well. But we all know how that ended.
      Nothing goes on forever for sure….

    • it makes me laugh when i hear people talk about interest rates like this.

      It reminds me of buying in 1991 (and being upside down until 2000) with a 9.75% interest rate and one of the reason i let myself get “suckered” into buy (and NOT timing the market) was the classic “interest rate will NEVER be this low again” bullshit.

      “they aren’t making anymore land, buy now or be priced out forever….some other “classics” from 1991….the more things change….

      etch that video in your head if you’re thinking of buying right now.

      • Aren’t properties worth more now, than in 1991? Wouldn’t a property purchased in 1991, be 5 years from mortgage free?

        *mic drop*

    • Somebody obviously forgot to tell the bond market to hold rates steady until the Fed tells it otherwise. And FHA and subprime loans issued over the past few years must have been figments of our imaginations. Not that it matters since bubbles lie within the high, unsustainable prices rather than the quality of lending.
      Oh yeah, forgot to mention, “they ain’t making anymore land” is more relevant now than it was prior to the last downturn.

    • Somebody obviously forgot to notify the bond market that they should hold off on dropping before the Fed gives them the all clear. Clearly, subprime and FHA loans that lenders have been handing out for the past few years must be part of the “solid qualification footing” mantra. Wouldn’t matter since the bubble has and always will be in the high, unsustainable prices.

      This time is truly different (for the umpteenth time).
      They ain’t making any more land (if you ignore the shadow inventory and the pipeline of new residential properties).

      • Hotel California

        Haven’t you heard? They stopped making more land at the bottom of the last bust around 2009-12.

    • Realist, do you understand how the money system works? I agree with you on the interest no raising significantly. However, I don’t agree with the “plateau” philosophy. Money supply is raising or collapses. Every single dollar is created through debt. If the debt stop increasing you have a crash. How is the interest going to be created? That is the mecanism through which wealth is transfered from the producers to the banks, or from the middle class to the oligarchs.

      The history proves that market goes up and the market goes down. Through inflation and deflation the FED becomes the owner of everything and buys any politician they want. They know when to position for one and to position for the other. Those around them know, too. For us, we have to navigate blindly.

      Through experience, the best you can do is to feel the direction right. When is the top and when is the bottom, tough luck.

  • I had several reasons for leaving California in 2013. Among the top 5 reasons was the looming public pension crisis, which will surely translate into even higher taxes for everyone living in the State. Today California’s unfunded liability is $1 Trillion or $93,000 per household…second only to Alaska at $110,000 per household.

  • Taco Tuesday lovin’ boomer here. I was born and raised in California. I have not lived in California since graduating from college in the late 70s. Husband and I did the clear-eyed evaluation then and leaving California seemed a much better deal even back then. We did well in our careers and in real estate in western Washington. We have now cashed in our Washington investments and retired to Northern Idaho. Life just keeps getting better.

    This is an honest question — why do you young, smart IT professionals stay in California? Aren’t your jobs portable with tele-commuting? I read a lot of justified disparagement of the $1 M “crap shacks” on this site. Then, I ask, why are you tied to an over priced market that offers such little opportunity?

    If I were young, I would be looking into investing in western Montana (Missoula area).
    It has the young vibe you all seem to want and there is great opportunity there.

    I look forward to your responses.

    • I did exactly what you’re asking about – took my IT job and moved to MT but kept my CA salary. Only problem was that it was 20 years before I was in a company that would allow that scenario.

    • Telecommuting isn’t as easy as it seems. Often the pay is less, and companies know there are a lot of distractions at home, so the vast majority require you to be on site. It doesn’t seem to matter to them that your quality and quantity of work speak for themselves. The company I work for only allows it once you’ve proven your worth in person, and only if there is a very good reason (i.e., military spouse relocated).

      Good call on northern ID. I have my eye on Wallace.

      • Wallace Idaho is dirt cheap. I have a nurse friend who commutes from Wallace to Spokane for work 3 times a week. You could get some very nice properties there, but do not overspend. Most people consider it too “far out” from Coeur d’Alene.

    • we live 2.5 miles from my husband’s parents, and 5 blocks from my parents. doesn’t make sense to pick up and leave when they give us free daycare and we can take care of them in a few years if needed.

      • If they’re old enough to be your daycare, it sounds like they could just move with you.

      • I honestly do not work for the Rathdrum Chamber of Commerce, but I must tell you about a 3 generation family I met last summer. I know the adult daughter of the family from my fiber spinning group. She raises fiber goats and sells her home spun yarn on the internet.

        First generation of the family were two CPAs from So Cal. They have one daughter (fiber goat lady), who was going to inherit everything anyway. They wanted to be close to their daughter and her family. They sold their property in So Cal, and bought 10 acres in Northern Idaho, with a house and a barn. (Probably paid $250,000 for this property.) Fiber goat lady, her husband and their daughter moved into the house, while the grandparent CPAs are built a second house on the property for themselves. Fiber goats lady husband works for a paving company, fiber goat lady works the farm/yarn, Grandma CPA still works part time doing taxes, while Grandpa CPA works in his fantastic wood shop. I am sure they have a boat load of money left over after the move. BTW, fiber goat lady’s college degree is in resort management, which has actually translated well into marketing. I met the entire family when I was invited to their FANTASTIC annual summer barbeque. They actually had built a zip line for the kids and adventurous adults to play on.

        My own two adult children have migrated to Spokane, WA after we moved to Northern Idaho, so we were able to migrate our family. They are in their 20s and find rural life boring.

        I am sure these folks paid cash for their property after selling out of So Cal. Taxes, and cost of living is low here. Think of the property you could afford if all three of your households cashed out and combined resources.

    • Tele commuting is not as much of an option as you think it is. People like to see you in person in an office.

      I also HATE working remotely. It’s lonely.

      CA also has more opportunities (jobs) for me than anywhere else. It gives me flexibility to change jobs while remaining in the same city, home, and with the same circle of friends.

      Lastly, culturally I do not think I could live in a red state. An atheist liberal from California? Yea, I’m sure I’ll make a ton of like minded friends.

      Obviously I like the weather, the beach, the things to do, etc etc, but that’s definitely not the reason I’m still here.

      • Being a fellow atheist (former) Californian, I can recommend Portland. I spend many days working in one of a zillion beautiful coffee shops with lots of other telecommuters. While Portland isn’t cheap like a midwest city, and it’s also in a bubble, the difference compared to LA is astounding. For $550K-$700K, you get a beautiful old home close-in with great public schools. Crap, I’m supposed to say it sucks up here, so don’t move here. 🙂

      • son of a landlord

        Lastly, culturally I do not think I could live in a red state. An atheist liberal from California? Yea, I’m sure I’ll make a ton of like minded friends.

        Yet I’m a religious conservative (Catholic) who’s managed to live his whole life in New York City and Santa Monica.

        I guess it just goes to show, religious conservatives are more tolerant than are atheist liberals. We can tolerate differences of opinion in a way that Leftists cannot. Just look at all those Leftist snowflakes who broke into tears or violence when Hillary lost. Sad.

      • Hotel California

        “Yea, I’m sure I’ll make a ton of like minded friends.”

        Because “diversity” only goes skin deep.

      • Son of Landlord, don’t underestimate the tension of being an atheist in some parts of this mostly religious country. I grew up in Indiana, and I was quite literally the only atheist I knew of until college. When my girlfriend’s friends found out I was atheist, they started leaving sinner notes on my car and her roommates refused to let me sleep inside their house. Another girlfriend’s parents would only let her see me if I went to religious counseling at her pastor’s house. I certainly never bring up being an atheist when I travel home to visit family in Indiana.

        In many parts of the country, being gay, a racial minority, or even muslim is more acceptable than being atheist. We’d probably see a openly gay president before an openly atheist president!

      • Telecommuting is lonely? Not like the interaction of freeway commuting. Trade-offs.

    • Howz da surf in Missoula?

      • Just about as good as the trout fishing, river rafting, and snow skiing is on your end.

      • How’s the surfing in Missoula? Actually better than you would expect. The city has created some “play spots” on the river that flows right through downtown. We stood on a bridge and watched the surfers in the play spots last summer.

    • Yes, in theory I could work anywhere over the Internet. The problem is, it just doesn’t work out the way in practice due to economies of scale from having workers in proximity to each other. Many economists have written about the effect of cities on innovation.

      So I’d be all for living in a really cheap area and working remotely, but the opportunity to have a good job in such a location usually doesn’t exist.

    • Rathdrumgal, I would move in a heartbeat, but my husband works in a part of the tech industry that is 1. prone to sudden layoffs and 2. heavily concentrated in CA. There are some smaller companies he could work at in other states, but if they lay people off after a project is done, there might not be another job for him in the area. I have never observed anyone telecommuting; it just isn’t a thing as far as I can tell. There are large, stable companies he can work at in CA, with others clustered nearby in case he needs to switch jobs. The tradeoff is, we can’t afford to buy a house. We are pretty happy renting though and saving up some money.

    • The people who stay on the coast in California are the ones who surf. All the other water sports (SUP, kayaking, windsurfing) can be done inland.

      • Or body surf, as one commentator suggested.?

      • alex in San Jose

        Surfing requires decent waves, and that requires a decent sized ocean. There are wave-making machines, one in Tempe, AZ I know of and some others, but mainly surfing is done on a coast facing a major ocean.

        But sailing, paddling, standup paddleboarding, etc can be done anywhere. The “Sunfish” is a small sailboat (some call it a sailboard) that’s both fun as hell and also the most popular sailboat by far in the US. That’s because the US overall has a shitton of lakes etc to sail one on – it’s highly recommended, and as one who’s done both, I’d take the Sunfish as surfing has become a real shitshow with “localism”, fighting for waves etc these days.

    • In IT, if you can telecommute more than 80% of the time then you can be outsourced to wherever the cheapest labor can be found. It’s that simple.

      Yes, you can do a lot of work remotely (and if you’re in IT, you will, at home, after hours because you’re in a 24/7 support role…thank you “cloud” for telling everyone that everything on the internet is always available all the time) but if your consider your job “outsource-proof” you either have extremely deep subject-specific knowledge that requires you to meet face-2-face with customers (be they internal or external) or you’re required to do hands-on hardware stuff.

      I’ve tried the telecommute thing twice now. The first one ended up requiring my presence in during Round 1 of the late unpleasantness in the Sandbox because the guys in the office were all well-cemented in place (you can’t do office politics well from the end of a modem) and me, being young, could “stand some time in the field”. At least I got to meet some interesting people, some of whom are still alive and have all 21 appendages. 23, if you count ears.

      The second one was more mundane in the mid 2000’s. I thought I found the perfect spot in mid-flyover-land only to get crushed by a major tech employer leaving and dumping 100’s of desperate job seekers into my pool. Hard to compete with guys who are a paycheck away from not being able to pay for little Timmy’s braces.

      I’m now situated in a job that requires a 60 minutes commute each way to/from DTLA but I think I have the knowledge and political capital to keep the plates spinning until I do a Richard Daley at my desk or they kick me out for drooling on the paperwork.

      I know someone who’s an expert lawyer in matters of maritime law (a fascinating subject, the high seas being fairly well regulated these days) and he’s based in L.A. He could live anywhere and fly in to meet clients ’round the globe but LaLa Land is close to a number of important maritime power centers. He also likes the weather…

  • I’m hoping Alex was nowhere near the Oakland fire.

    He was part of that demographic of artist living out of warehouses. Haven’t seen him in a while.

  • RathdrumGal- Young people want to live in big cities generally where a lot of action is happening…plentiful jobs, lots of young people with similar and not-so similar interests, diversity of cultural experiences, good food, music, art and even the grittiness is appealing to them. I’ve been to Mt and Id. Trust me, it aint the same as living in a big city. When you retire, leave it to the next gen of youngsters.

  • My spouse and I choose to rent mainly because of commute issues. He works in the South Bay (STEM field with a 20 minute commute) and I work on the Westside (marketing with an 8 minute commute). We have a combined income of $170k, with nearly 400K in savings + retirement. Almost anywhere we can buy a not-crapshack (we have been there, done that, with a condo- NEVER AGAIN!) without completely depleting our liquid reserves will mean an hour+ each way commute for at least one of us. Since both sets of parents are condo dwellers on the Westside and are free daycare for our children, it makes zero sense to buy right now (though I would very much like a washer dryer)

    • $400K cash with 2 kids and no washer dryer?

      Jesus Christ you are a masachist…. fix that problem asap .. rentals have washers and dryers if you don’t want to buy.

    • I would rather have a washer/dryer and do without a dishwasher, oven, AND stove. I have two kids and know how much laundry you’re doing.

  • CA. gave my wife and I a great experience in the 33 years we lived there. Our business did very well and investing made us a 5% of wealth. So yes I can knock it since we moved away several years ago took our money and now enjoy a rather dream life.
    But CA. also gave hope back in the 50 and 60’s for those who came West to a very progressive life style and chance taking not afforded any where else. Thinkers became doers in CA. the climate plays a big part, the physical beauty of the state from deserts, to mountains, to oceans, a magnate to almost all who first set eyes on it.
    A true country not a state, and yes 40 million people later, a liberal place, unmanageable by the sure numbers of 10x larger of everything there we can thrash it now, but my wife and do remember when CA. was magic even the SFV was a real estate man with a hook that this is the next paradise instead of the next no zoning laws night mare of endless strip malls, auto dealers, and 1500 sq. ft. box houses nestle among sprawling homes. Orange groves no more, house ranches long gone, but that is what happens when many only wanted to call CA. home, left behind family and friends to start the new life and dream. Bask in the endless sunshine and pretend you are rich cruising Rodeo dr. on a Sat. night. and turn into the estates off Sunset.
    Ca. today, well lets say for those who remember in the hey day of I can make it there to hopeless “can we survive living here”, good memories for us and glad we had the means to leave it behind.

  • We need to have a 15% foreign buyer transfer tax, like they setup in Vancouver. Home prices there have started falling since the tax went into effect.

    • Instead the Federal government gives citizenship to foreigners who purchase homes that cost over 500k. They started that program around 2010 and lo and behold all homes are over 500k!

    • I am planning to move my family to Irvine, and I would salivate at the prospect of such a tax. But I doubt that there will be such a change in the status quo.

  • There seems to be no lack of buyers. I spoke to a friend of mine who has been a realtor on the Westside for 15 years. He had no reason to impress me since I am not a prospective client.

    He informed me that his pool of buyers is still large and that pool includes developers, multi-gen families, foreigners, well-to-do families who want to move from flyover into LA and also young educated couples pulling in $150K+ per year combined. With the pending increase in interest rates, more buyers are eager to buy.

    He said the market is hot enough that 1 investor he has sold properties to has been buying old small 2 and 3 bedroom homes and scraping them off the land and putting up 2 story mcmansions and flipping in a 7-month turn around time. he said the investor has done this on over 100 properties since the crash (makes an all cash offer with no contingencies other than preliminary title report). his focus is mainly 1 mile on the east side or westside of the 405 from Brentwood to Manhattan Beach.

    Anyway shocking to me that the spectrum of buyers is so wide and so many buyers that it pays a flipper to scrape a house and build a 2 story; but does explain how these prices on the Westside can keep increasing without any liar-loans.

    • Good, more of the suckers money thats going to be burned up in the downturn thats already started. And they keep being born (every minute or so as the saying goes)

  • DR HB
    Your definition is not the orange curtain The Orange Curtain is reference to white flight southbound, out of LA, beyond the san Gabriel river. The area / border you refer to is the Nine-OH-nine, and equivalent to Siberia

  • I am thrilled Trump is president. I was horrified at the thought of Clinton.

    This will be good for CA. Many of those violent gang members ruining so many SoCal cities are illegals. Trump has promised that scum will be removed fro, the country.

    For example, Santa Ana has always been a latino city. But, about 25 years ago, it was a nice safe city. A white guy could get an affordable place in Santa Ana close to the Costa Mesa border.

    Now, the illegal violent gang members have made Santa Ana a scary place for everyone. As a white guy, I would be scared to live within a few miles of Santa Ana. But, if Trump gets rid of the violent gang members, people would have safe affordable options line they did decades ago.

    My point is if Trump solves the violent gang member problem, most of which are illegals, ten the housing problem is also solved.

    • Hotel California

      I noticed Trump’s thank you tour didn’t include any stops in California. We’ll see how his policies play out for this state.

    • you’re scared of Santa Ana? Can’t remember the last time I heard of a civilian being murdered there. I’ve walked streets and alleys where you could still see the police tape and chalk outline of the body. Worst case scenario hand over your cash if you get mugged.

      • Santa Ana has always had its ups and downs. But crime has risen considerably there since 2014 (maybe due to Prop 47). It is mostly gang-related but there are drive-by shootings that can hurt anyone.

    • Also Trump wants to slow or halt the refugee resettlement. Here in San Diego county we’ve resettled something close to 20,000 refugees since 2009. Tell me that isn’t impacting rent prices and contributing to the homeless crisis.

  • A lot can be summed up here.

    Look, number one, I never said it’s different this time. What I did say is that overpopulation, lack of building, and banks that actually check your income and credit score to home price ratios, equals a highly competitive and fairly healthy market. I never ever ever said it was easy, I never said people are not stretching their budgets, in fact it is very hard to live here and yes the rich win. They always do.

    Now riddle me this. You cannot possibly tell me that, even if it is hard for you for 30 years, that at the end of 30 years having a paid-off house is not better for your life. I’m not talking about home value, I’m not talking about investment, but I’m talking about is you paying into my office for three years, then at the end of it you don’t have a mortgage payment anymore. That makes retirement and the end of your life much easier. Having that service stability and I paid off home in the family, can make kids lives easier as well. Not that they should be guaranteed to live off the fruits of your labor, but I’m just saying, I know a lot of families who have paid off homes passed down through the generations and yes their lives are easier. So why not.

    • I apologize for all of the auto-correct errors in this post, it’s early and I didn’t check it

    • Yes, it’s far better to have a paid-off house in retirement. But it’s vitally important to run the long-term numbers for the area and square footage you want, because it may or may not put you ahead in 20-30 years compared to (for example) investing in an S&P index fund. Also keep in mind you’ll be paying property taxes on that overpriced house forever.

      Many people would be better off renting, and if the itch to buy is uncontrollable, you can get the same retirement benefits by buying a rental in flyover country – and in a much more landlord-friendly state. Then buy your primary when prices come down.

      All that said, I personally chose to sell and move up, for all the reasons you gave. I wanted a big home with a pool for my kids to grow up in, adults to enjoy gatherings, and to make good memories for decades. it’s within our budget, we’ll come out far ahead (compared to renting) in 20 years, and it’s made to be a multi-generation home. We may even end up living in the casita in old age, with one of our kids and their family in the main house. With a summer home in flyover country, of course.

      • All good points. To the average Joe out there, buying is a much better alternative than long term renting. The vast majority of people can’t or won’t save money, owning a house is forced savings. Paying $1000 per month to principal is much easier than living in a cheap rental and faithfully putting that $1000/month into an investment account. Unlike owning stocks, housing is a necessity. Add in the supply and demand imbalances present in socal and owning for the long term is a no brainer.

        All my 2 cents of course.

      • You’re not in So Cal, are you?

      • “To the average Joe out there, buying is a much better alternative than long term renting.”

        Only if it makes financial sense and at price where you can weather potential adversity (job loss, job transfer, etc.).

        “The vast majority of people can’t or won’t save money, owning a house is forced savings.”
        Owning a house in no way guarantees any type of sensible financial behavior. In supporting RE prices, government and Fed wanted owners to feel “wealthy” enough to go out spend, many times beyond their means. Thus the growth of HELOCs and reverse mortgages.

        “Paying $1000 per month to principal is much easier than living in a cheap rental and faithfully putting that $1000/month into an investment account. Unlike owning stocks, housing is a necessity.”

        Apples and oranges. Stocks are an investment; personal housing is a consumption item/shelter. Personal RE violates two of the primary investment edicts: liquidity and diversity. Sinking what would represent someone’s life savings (100-120K), just as an initial investment, into a currently volatile So Cal market is way too risky. BTW, a 401K/IRA is a form of forced savings and represents a primary retirement fund (a necessity).

        “Add in the supply and demand imbalances present in socal and owning for the long term is a no brainer.”

        Artificial imbalances promoted by Fed and government policies that have not proven to lead be busts rather than to long term solutions

      • “Artificial imbalances promoted by Fed and government policies that have not proven to lead be busts rather than to long term solutions”

        Meant: Severe artificial imbalances promoted by Fed and government policies that have proven to lead busts rather than to long term solutions

  • Whenever I look at the mega commutes and the housing crisis, I wonder why we can’t find ways to entice companies to move to the Central Valley and Inland Empire. The middle class could live next to their jobs and own houses.

    We could vote to reform CEQA, take over local government from the NIMBYs and make it easier to build dense housing in Silicon Valley so that people in the service industry/arts could live near their jobs and avoid paying 50%+ of their income in rent (or living in a tent city. Or burning to death in a warehouse).

    All this pointless suffering, just so that a lucky few can become wealthy by having bought a house back in the day and waiting for the price to inflate.

    • I agree…the Oakland fire hit home as we lost a neighborhood kid trapped in the warehouse. I think the housing crisis has now created a monster…unsafe living arrangements to be close to the City centers. Apparently one sub-etter was paying $1k to live there with no running water and no AC. Holy shit! Thats insane.
      Jerryrigged wiring created the fire i guess.

    • I think that as it’s become “creative” people, not people in general, that have become critical for companies, they have stopped following people to the suburbs. Witness Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza vs Victoria Gardens or anything from Menifee to Palmdale. There’s also Leinberger’s concept of the “favored quarter” to keep in mind.?

  • I am an OC native. My parents bought and paid off an OC home long ago, living comfortably in what is now an unaffordable neighborhood for any of us ($750+ for ancient SFH??). Our in-laws bought and are yet paying off an OC home that maybe was affordable for us in 2014 but is now far, far, far out of reach. We sometimes think about moving back there but each visit gets more and more depressing.

    When I grew up, everyone simply owned a home and raised kids there. When they grew old, they could sell the house and retire elsewhere. Now my parent’s old neighborhood is mostly rentals! During the downturn, their neighbor even bought up 2 extra homes around the block and are renting them out. The house furthest down the street is always rented to Cal State college students, living 4+ and crowding the street with cars. I am a renter and a respectful one…but I must say, the mindset of a renter does change the character of a neighborhood. No one puts down roots and gets to know each other. No one stays to raise children. No one invests in the local park or school. What was a nice, quiet, middle class OC neighborhood is now have/have-nots and it is really ruining it.

    And yet, where do we go? My siblings have all fled the Golden State but honestly, their view of “flyover” country is not so rosy. There is a separation of the haves and have-nots, no matter where you live. And what they saved in initial home purchase price is quickly being picked away by extensive home repair due to the more extreme weather patterns in their new home state. There are other intangible benefits to staying in California that they miss dearly – proximity to family and racial diversity. Sorry to burst the echo chamber here but not all readers of this blog are angsty white guys/gals who are pissed that they can’t buy a SFH in Garden Grove like Mom and Pop did in 1950 and blame “the foreigners!” or “The Liberals for protecting the foreigners!” Some of us are angsty non-white guys/gals who are pissed they can’t buy a SFH but are totally fine with racial diversity. Not white does not automatically mean illegal, foreign, etc. Not all Asians are shady Chinese billionaires with their anchor babies, ffs. And the comments that “most” can’t speak English are totally out of touch with reality. And then said posters get all their panties in a twist when these stereotypes raise eyebrows.

    Though anecdotally, all of the home-owning friends I have here are green card holding friends from Canada, Sweden, and a couple from Germany+Israel. You’re getting mad at the wrong foreigners!

    • Good post.

      As you mentioned, owning a home back in the day was simply about a place to live in and raise a family. Owning a home today is much more complicated in socal. Decades of anti growth policies and other goodies (Prop 13) that clearly favor home ownership have led to severe supply demand imbalances. People have realized this and homes have turned into investment vehicles (rentals). I see no end to this in many parts of socal due to obvious reasons.

      • LB,

        You are correct but you forgot the elephant in the room – the FED policies of practical NIRP. Yes, they are still positive but only relative to the bogus CPI number. Calculated the old fashion way, which was closer to the real life, what we had for the past 8 years was a practical NIRP. That was the real culprit in all of this enabling people to buy at stratospheric prices and setting them up for a major fall when market changes course.

  • Why California does not do anything about mentally ill people? They are surrounding us, look around. They are everywhere. They are homeless or with homes, but why so many are crazy and why no one cares? They are dangerous! When I go outside in San Jose I really feel unsafe. Out of 10 people 8-9 will look suspicious and weird. Are any healthy people left around?

    • You nailed it. There is truly an epidemic in California of dangerous mentally unstable people left to their own devices in the street. If someone is a danger to themselves or others (5150) the police are limited to only taking them to the emergency room where they are stabilized with tranquilizers (vitamin H we called it) and then released back into the streets to terrorize people. I’d submit that this is the case because of the rampant substance abuse in CA. If you look at stats more people use and think cannabis is harmless in CA as compared to say, Idaho. Is it really a shocker that there are more tweaks in our streets terrorizing people and defecating in the streets. Cue the cannabis is harmless crowd and meth is good for you etc… Welcome to California!!

    • California is run by the mentally ill. You folks still in that state are suffering from Stockhom syndrome. When I go back for a visit its like looking at a bunch of carnies and circus freaks, or maybe rats chasing after a little piece of cheese. Its rather sad.

      • It isn’t Stockholm Syndrome, many of us are still in CA because our family and friends are here. And some of us have profitable businesses here too which would be hard to model out of state. I’d be out of state in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the above factors.

        Where we live rurally in CA it is pretty much the same as Idaho, but I drive an hour to my ghetto ass buildings. But you’re totally right it is a freak show in most of CA. That is a demonstrable fact. Anyone who lives in CA and doesn’t acknowledge that most of it is now a shithole is lying to themselves. Or they are a deranged liberal.

      • And the good parts are being subsumed by the shitholes. It makes going anywhere outside of your bubble a pain in the a55 and you end up grinding your teeth the whole time. But hey, you can legally destroy your brain with super-gmo strains of weed so nothing else matters!

    • We used to have mental hospitals for our crazies. (Saint) Ronald Reagan shut them down when he was governor. So that’s why they’re on the street.

      It’s even worse. It is not uncommon to see homeless in wheelchairs. Just a few weeks ago I was walking near the Santa Monica library when a homeless guy in a wheelchair asked me to push him to a bathroom at the library. He couldn’t push his chair without his colostomy bag leaking due to a hernia. He needed the push to the bathroom so he could empty the bag and rearrange stuff. He wasn’t crazy or loaded or a bad guy. Just one of life’s losers.

  • Actually, the author lies a little, the average price of a house in OC is like 630,000 to 650,000, it has gone down while Riverside is about 440,000 not 330,000. . Also, Rive ride and LA are increasing in prices faster than Orange County which has reach its peak.. In fact Texas which is promoted here has increase a lot faster than Orange County. Austin is now 350,000 about a 10 percent jumped compared to OC at about a 4 percent jumped in a year. Its cheaper to lived in these places but the author has always done some lying to make his point.

  • Housing ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS follows wages in the long term. Show me the wages in an area and I’ll show you the housing price. However, since the early 2000’s we’ve had a broken Fed that is spraying money into the system, followed by the Chinese trying to preserve their assets. It makes for a distorted mess of a market. The median household income in Orange County is about what $76,000? Not to mention the massive Obamacare premiums lately, the numbers simply don’t compute.

    The Chinese will abruptly pull out like the Japanese circa 1989. The economy will cool, causing another housing crash. And all the smug people on this site will be moaning and groaning. That being said, Orange County will always be more expensive than other parts of the state and county. However, even exceeding five times gross income a houses are insanely overvalued.

    What we’re really talking about is old, greed bag boomers with a hot rod in the garage enjoying the carnage around them as they’ve been locked in since 1986. They’ll rue the day, and the coming pension crisis. A lot of boomer suicides in the future. I’m eyeballing the house I want as I watch its owner, a boomer walk through his side gate in his bathrobe. They’ll all wash out to AZ sooner or later. Most not by choice.

    • son of a landlord

      JR Wirth: What we’re really talking about is old, greed bag boomers with a hot rod in the garage enjoying the carnage around them as they’ve been locked in since 1986. They’ll rue the day, and the coming pension crisis. A lot of boomer suicides in the future. I’m eyeballing the house I want as I watch its owner, a boomer walk through his side gate in his bathrobe. They’ll all wash out to AZ sooner or later. Most not by choice.

      You sound like a LOSER. A failure who’s pinning his hopes of success on other people dying.

      I’m a tail end boomer. I’m 55 and going strong. My parents died at ages 87 and 92, and vigorous till their mid 80s. My aunt died at age 99, in her own bed, in her own house, her body weak but her mind still sharp. A lot of us Boomers have good genes and are gonna be here for while yet.

      You got a long wait ahead of you. And even if that guy in the house you “have your eye on” dies, his house won’t go to you. It’ll go to his estate. And they’ll sell it to someone with money, not to a loser such as yourself.

      We all grow old and die. Unless we die young. Some of us die old and rich. You’ll most likely die old and poor, still blaming other people for your failures.

      • I’m actually pretty well funded. I’m just not going to throw money down on a house because it’s the “thing to do.” Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. And when the economy eventually lines up these boomers like cattle and puts bolts through their heads, I will be there picking what I want.

        And by the way, I’m an aberration. A lot of people my age are smoking pot and playing video games well into their 30’s. So don’t think that a lot of these houses will pass gracefully to the boomer’s kids. The kids will sell the house to pay their bills and fund their pot habit. They’ll take out HELOCS that they’ll default on.

        And I do bitterly blame boomers for the state of our country, I admit that.

      • JR – I think I can understand why you blame the boomers, but IMO the blame lies with the 0.1%’ers. After all, who do you think really determines new regulations/policies in government? The data to support this premise isn’t that hard to find if one goes looking for it. Young vs old, black vs white, etc. are all distractions.

        What’s best for the ultra-rich isn’t best for most everybody else. Take illegal immigration – for the rich this means more customers and lower wages to pay.

      • @Jeff

        I agree. The policies supported by both political parties first and foremost are meant to benefit the elite .0001%. It just happens that the boomers are the first in line to pick the breadcrumbs trickling down from the top. Eventually, the spigot will be shut off as existing boomer wealth becomes diluted among their descendants. The middle class will continue to shrink if the current policies of economic stratification (through reverse wealth distribution) persevere.

  • Tell my millionaire grandparents renting is better than buying. Haha!

    • “Owning real estate is the key to building wealth” — real estate agent 101

      • “Owning real estate is the key to building wealth” — real estate agent 101 – Quoted circa 2006???

        There are vast and good reasons to own real estate. But let’s not pretend that the current market is steady or financially feasible for even the upper middle class.

        Real estate bubbles have been how LA has developed since 1880. Nothing new here, and you’re a fool to think otherwise.

    • I would have loved to buy a nice shag carpeted house in 1976, buy naugahyde furniture for it, and watch my equity grow as all those boomers leveraged the country into oblivion. And still have a defined benefits pension to boot.

  • If you don’t think real estate is a key to building wealth you are an idiot. Seriously. I’ve yet to meet the idiot savant tenant who is amassing fortunes into his twilight years from his studio. That doesn’t mean overpaying obviously, but you bozos are going to far when you start to say that real estate is not a wealth builder when done properly. Really, you are idiots. I have some toilets for you to clean.

    • I’m mocking real estate agents for blindly espousing this talking point (among others). People make fortunes regardless of whether they rent or own — ownership of real estate is not a necessary qualification for building wealth. I know owners who didn’t have 2 dimes to rub together.
      Of course you can make money in real estate, but it’s not as easy or a slum dunk — as you yourself just admitted.

      • Yes sorry that comment wasn’t directed at you Prince, in the context you are referring to you are absolutely correct.

        The truth is somewhere in the middle. House jockeys that blindly peddle their BS to the masses are the lowest forms of life. But the jaded anti-real estate freeloaders that disparage real estate investment because they’re too locked into their negative doxies are equally as annoying. I get sick of people whining about no opportunity anymore etc. There is always opportunity, always. That being said this is generally speaking a horrible time to buy a deal for most people.

      • Time for a trivial data point of 1: in 2011 my net worth was $400k. Now it’s about $1.6m. Over 80% of that gain is from the real estate that I’ve purchased/developed in these last 5 years.

        I looked at trying to do this in CA, but property is/was too expensive, so I sold the home in the bay area and moved out of state to get going.

    • I recently attended by 25 year HS reunion. For the most part, we could divide people into two camps … those that bought, and those that did not. Most of those that bought had at least 500K in equity and had a payment far less than current rent. Those that did not buy are mostly struggling to pay their skyrocketing rents. Some of the renters are moving into worse areas in order to afford the rent. I know a person who relocated from Seal Beach to Anaheim. If he would have bought 5 years ago, he could have locked in Seal Beach for a lifetime. Every generation, this happens over and over. Renters always lose in the long run. And, lose big.

      • I totally agree. Owning is great, and should be an aspiration. However, the people you didn’t meet at your high school re-union are the ones who took out 125% loans circa 2005 and defaulted. They ended up moving to Idaho where they’re “prepping” in their trailers and angry at the world for fleecing them. They fleeced themselves, but that’s beside the point.

        The stock market is similar right now. Not exactly a place to dip your tow in, unless you listen to the AM radio carnival barkers. I especially like the real estate ones. How about we all just float around for awhile and watch the next train wreck before deploying hard earned money into an overvalued market.

      • Hotel California

        So, pack up the blog and call it a day because nothing to see here? I’ve got news for you, anyone who plans on renting forever isn’t here, so you can give up the ridiculous strawman already, as it only serves to make the smugly insecure anti-renter propaganda all the more transparent.

        Most people don’t want to be slumlords or regular landlords, they’re simply looking not to get screwed on a decent place to live in. FFS already. Rents are not “skyrocketing”, because if they were, landlords in the hottest locales of NYC, SF, LA and so on wouldn’t be offering incentives such as free rent. The more some of you regurgitate nonsense around how solid this thing is, the more obvious it is you’re feeling desperate about the precarious nature of it.

      • @JR @HC


        I find the “Cash Call” TV commercials begging consumers to consume cheap credit to be both amusing and depressing. “Buying house with cash” hand made signs stapled to telephone/traffic poles is a sure sign of RE mania.

      • “Owning is great, and should be an aspiration. However, the people you didn’t meet at your high school re-union are the ones who took out 125% loans circa 2005 and defaulted. They ended up moving to Idaho where they’re “prepping” in their trailers and angry at the world for fleecing them. They fleeced themselves, but that’s beside the point.”
        People tend to categorize themselves into “renters” and “buyers”. The real division is between financially prudent and not. My old neighbors bought, HELOC’d themselves right out of it, and now rent. Had to use the insurance money from a minor car accident to pay bills. But hey, at least they got a boat out of it.

    • alex in San Jose

      Buying a single family house, not an apartment, condo, etc., that has good “bones” and taking decent care of it, not smoking in it, etc., and living in it over decades is indeed a good way to build wealth. The money that would have gone into rent, goes into the house. So after 30-40 years you can sell it and it’s like getting your rent money back.

      You can rent, and scrimp and save, to buy a house or if you want to be flexible keep renting and just push all you can into some kind of Vanguard account, and that can work, but if you’re going to be in one place for a while, buying a house makes for a nice piggy bank.

  • The millennial generation (aka pussy generation) voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. They have nothing coming. The uber rich limousine liberals continue to throw them crumbs. Deep pocketed foreigners continue to buy properties and price young Americans out of the housing market. These people are the new American political force and the Millinneals need to get used to it. Continue to habitats with your mommies and daddies or in your grossly overpriced apartments. Maybe you can wear those safety pins used to hold up baby diapers…..

  • I guess it’s good to be a landlord and landowner in OC!

    Still too many foreigners here, though.

  • Real estate is a good investment like stocks only if you have bought at the right time
    My friends who bought in 2005 2006 are still underwater big time if you take all the insurance maintenance and taxes un consideration..
    Btw… for 2016… i converted my 401k into stocks and they are up 50 percent… time to bail stock market..
    Stocks are so liquid

  • Yes, that’s a problem. But, california law has made it fairly risk low risk to take the gamble on oc real estate. It’s called anti deficiency statutes. People secure lowest down payments possible through fha. If housing goes down 50%, no big deal, shortsale. The only real cost for many people will be the damage on their credit report and the missed wealth building opportunity had real estate not tanked. But, they could also do very well from the slightest appreciation. It’s the morons buying all cash and not refinancing that are idiots in california, unless you are nearing retirment or a taco tuesday boomer. They have all the downside risk when it tanks.

    I’m no house humper and plan on retiring early in texas, but there are reasons why people have little fear signing on the dotted line. It will be interesting to see the ramifications when all the combined income house humping couples have babies and are forced to cut down to 1 income. The default rate will rock again, but they may simply end up in shadow inventory to mask the reality of the market.

  • Take a week or extended weekend in 2017 and visit a place out of state that you think you might like. As a lifelong CA person with entire extended family here I know the psychological angst leaving creates. But there are very cool places out of state to investigate. More time on socal freeways is not the answer.

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