Booming Monterey Housing Market Still Skeptical About Affordable Housing Projects

Architectural details of modern apartment building.

Architectural details of modern apartment building.

The housing market in and around California’s Monterey County has experienced a significant upswing, but affordable options are still scarce.

The city of Monterey has seen a 5.16% growth in median home prices since last year, and Salinas has experienced a similar 6.3% growth. Other areas, such as Sand City and Seaside, have witnessed increases in the double digits — 42% and 27%, respectively.

The median cost of a new home throughout Monterey County is $497,500 for 2016, a 7% increase over last year and well above the national average of $272,900 back in 2010. A recovering economy and increased job opportunities in the area are credited for booming sales and a strong market in the area.

“I think it’s great for the city and underscores the fact Salinas is a great place to live and work,” Kevin Stone, CEO of the Monterey County Association of Realtors, told the Monterey Herald. “It continues to be the driver in home sales in Monterey County.”

Despite the promising gains for area Realtors, controversy continues over the proposed affordable housing development project in Pebble Beach.

The Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Pebble Beach Company’s project of 24 inclusionary housing rental units on Wednesday amidst outcries from the Del Monte Neighbors United Association that argued against the deforestation necessary for construction.

“My problem is that they are going to destroy a chunk of the forest that doesn’t need to be destroyed,” said Tom Housel, a Pebble Beach resident who spoke at the Commission meeting.

“We’re very much for affordable housing, but we think it should be in a location that has already been deforested,” said Lynn Mason, who lives in Del Monte Park.

Nevertheless, the project will commence, clearing 2.7 acres of Del Monte forest area while preserving another 10.5 acres as open space. The company promises to plant new trees in a one-to-one ratio to make up for those cleared.

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