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  • 34


     
    California: Race and Housing
    Economy; Posted on: 2007-04-13 11:17:10 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    "The neighborhood is very peaceful. The problem is not with the house at all. It's the price of the house."

    By Carol Lloyd, Special to SF Gate

    When Alberto and Rosa Ramirez began looking for a home, they never imagined that 18 months later they would personify a national real estate crisis. It's not that they bought a house with walls crawling with toxic mold or inherited an insane neighbor next door or, even, God forbid, that they didn't buy at all. They bought, and they love, their slice of the American Dream.

    "It's all very nice and beautiful," Rosa tells me through a translator. "The neighborhood is very peaceful. The problem is not with the house at all. It's the price of the house."

    Indeed, in a different era (when housing prices were lower), their story might have been one of those bootstrap tales about homeownership transforming immigrant lives. The husband and wife work as strawberry pickers in the fields around Watsonville, and each earns about $300 a week. They have three children. Not only did they dream the impossible dream, they managed to finance it.

    It all began when they were talking to another family about escaping their subsidized apartments and getting a real house. The other couple -- Jesus Martinez and his wife, who also have three children -- work as mushroom farmers, earning about $500 a week each when there is work. The two couples decided to pool their resources and begin house-hunting. Given their total income, they estimated that they could afford payments of $3,000 a month. They spotted an ad in the local magazine La Ganga for Maria Avila of Rancho Grande Real Estate and called her.

    Continue
    News Source: sfgate.com

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