What Is Gentrification And What Does It Mean For You?
Depending on your lot in life, gentrification is either great or it’s full of potential upheaval. To some, gentrification means betterment of a neighborhood. To others it means displacement. Regardless, there’s a whole lot of gentrification going on in the Bay Area and it’s reflected in housing prices.
If you are one of the folks who have owned your home for a while and your neighborhood is in the process of gentrification, you might be happy about it, that is, unless you like your neighbors and the feel of the neighborhood.
You may or may not like the trendier shopping and restaurants. You may like the fact that properties around you have a fresher, newer, more expensive look, but you probably will like the fact that your property values are going up.
If you are renting, look for increased rent and even eviction. Your landlord may want you out so he or she can make the changes necessary to bring in the big bucks. A gentrified neighborhood can raise rents as much as 40 percent. This San Francisco tenant saw her rent go up a whopping 400 percent.
If you are looking for a place to live, are there advantages beyond better shopping and restaurants? Is the crime rate lower? Studies have been done and the results are conflicting. Higher income people generally have more political clout and the ability to demand more police patrols but they also have more things worth stealing and the residents themselves may be less vigilant. A gentrified neighborhood may appear safe but it’s no guarantee against crime.
Gentrification is particularly hard on poor people and minorities, who find themselves having to move to the far reaches of the Bay Area or even outside the Bay Area to find affordable housing.
Chinese investors have long been blamed for much of the increasing property values in the Bay Area, but it might not be quite that simple. Foreign investors are creating construction related jobs in the pre-gentrified areas, but once properties are built, the people who worked on them will likely be out a home. San Francisco is trying to address the problems through solutions like affordable housing and loan programs, but we still have to wait and see.