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Zócalo Public Square
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Are Housing Prices Destroying the California Dream?


Housing has never been more expensive in California than it is today. Rents are at record highs, and the average Golden-State home is worth nearly a half-million dollars, more than two-and-a-half times the national average. Home values have helped millions of California homeowners to build the wealth they need to pay for their children’s education and their own retirement. But what are the hidden costs of soaring rents and home prices—to California, its economy, and the aspirations of longtime residents as well as newcomers? What kind of pressures do housing costs place on Californians, from young families worried about how rising rents affect financial security to older working people who want to retire but fear whether they can’t afford to keep living here? How much of a factor are housing prices in the decisions of Californians to live farther from their jobs or to depart the state entirely? California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, AARP California State Director Nancy McPherson, and dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Gary Segura visit Zócalo to examine how our state’s housing market boom both enables and endangers the California dream of independence, the good life, and having a home of one’s own.