Runaway real estate costs in Silicon Valley have long since priced out most middle-class homebuyers, and now even high earners are becoming unable to afford Palo Alto, the suburb at the heart of the technology-rich region. Robust job growth combined with limited new housing supply are pitting well-off newcomers against wealthy residents who have benefited from a doubling of home values in the past decade alone.
Critics say longtime homeowners wanting to protect the character of the area are standing in the way of new residences to compensate for an employment surge. That’s resulted in a median home value of $2.5 million, 13 times the national level and out of reach for even the six-figure salaries of the area’s tech workers.
The city of 67,000 had a 2.9 percent unemployment rate in July, well below the 4.9 percent rate nationwide, according to the California Employment Development Department. There’s far from enough housing to accommodate those workers. A 2014 city report estimated there are three jobs for every resident.