The Housing Chronicles Blog: Where will California's Central Valley be in 2019?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where will California's Central Valley be in 2019?

Picture it: Central Valley. 2019. Ten years from now, some planners think growth will have continue to add to the population, especially in and around Sacramento. From a Sacramento Bee story:

There are too many 3,000-square-foot homes for the low median incomes in the Valley," said Chelsey Norton, a planning consultant with Sacramento-based Mintier Harnish. She said it's not just that most people can't afford them. Many won't want them.

In 2015, just 10 percent of Valley households will be the traditional nuclear family with a mom, dad and kids, she said. The Valley, said Norton, "is increasingly graying." It's filling with a multitude of varying lifestyles, "with people who don't need isolated large suburban houses."

Norton said today's "millennial" generation, born between 1981 and 2001, may have grown up in suburbs. But it wants to live near work and not necessarily in the single-family homes that the boom brought to the Valley.

"How to keep this generation in the Valley?" she asked a crowd of people mostly older than herself. "They want different kinds of housing than that found in the Valley."...

Don't worry, there will be another housing boom. A competing panel at the Great Valley Center conference predicted 13.6 million people living between Bakersfield and Redding in 2050. That's about the time this month's high school graduates will retire.

Today, there's just shy of 7 million people in that area – about one-third of them in the Sacramento region. The good news for the capital: It has been gaining brains and income with its growth, according to Joseph Hayes, research associate at the San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute. Not so for the rest of the Central Valley, he said.

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