A home for sale in Poway. Photo by Chris Jennewein

By Tom York

Owning a home in San Diego is becoming costlier each year. That’s the takeaway from the latest study in housing unaffordability in the 100 largest cities across the United States.

The study was by prepared by international real estate search portal Point2. It found that a widening gap between income and making mortgage payments has eroded affordability over the past decade, with mortgage payments taking a heavier slice of the family budget. However, San Diego homeowners have enjoyed better affordability ratios than those in many other cities on the list.

In 2020, local homeowners spent 30% of their pay on house payments. That’s the good news, but here’s the bad. Though the ratio remains stable, the percentage still makes homeowners among the most cost-burdened in the U.S.

Overall, California is the country’s “champion” when it comes to the number of cities with the most mortgaged-burdened homeowners. Ten of the 15 most unaffordable cities on Point2’s list of 100 cities are located in the Golden State. Honolulu and LA were the top two cities on the list, with homeowners on average shelling out 41% of their income on home ownership.

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Japan Airlines said late last week that it is resuming nonstop flights between Tokyo and San Diego after a long shutdown. The carrier resumes flights with three-day-a-week service on March 3. The international carrier suspended the service in April due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. An interesting tidbit. The carrier was the first to start nonstop flights between Asia and San Diego in late 2012. Pre-pandemic, the then daily flights were often booked with business and leisure travelers headed east and west. Kimberly Becker, the airport’s top executive, said with the resumption of this international service, San Diego again becomes attractive to Southern California travelers, a critical step to rebuilding the local economy post-Covid-19. “We look forward to welcoming travelers from Asia once again and thank Japan Airlines for resuming this important service,” she said.

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The California Energy Commission awards native American electricity utility startup Indian Energy a $5 million grant for a battery storage demonstration project at Camp Pendleton, which will undergo testing to see if it helps meet demands for power on the region’s electric grid. Indian Energy, based in San Diego, was founded nine years ago, when several tribal nations decided to develop a utility-scale electric power plant. The grant money will be used to show that long-duration, non-lithium-ion energy storage technologies can be used to store electric power until it is needed.

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La Jolla-based DermTech, a molecular diagnostic company developing non-invasive diagnostic tests to diagnose skin cancer and related conditions, recently raised a round of capital in a successful stock offering on the Nasdaq exchange. The Jan. 15 offering consisted of 4.9 million shares of common stock, which sold at $29.50 per share. The shares closed up, reaching $39 that day. The money raised will be used to pursue commercialization of a melanoma test, as well as accelerate development of similar cutting-edge anti-cancer technologies. DermTech claims to be the leading genomics company in dermatology, creating precision dermatology, a new category of medicine enabled by its non-invasive skin genomics platform.

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Last week, we reported that local commercial real estate developers Ryan Cos. and DWS Group had completed a 534,000-square-foot two logistics and distribution buildings in Poway. Well, this week we learn that giant internet retailer Amazon has leased the entire space. This according to a story published in Commercial Property Executive, a New York City-based trade publication. The partnership broke ground on the Class A development in May 2019. At the time, the facility was said to be the largest speculative project undertaken in the county within the past two decades.

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The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego awards Beth Sirull with its JLens’ 2020 Jewish Leadership in Impact Investing Award. JLens provides a Jewish lens on investing and it serves as the bridge between the Jewish community and the various communities connected to that nonprofit. Sirull has been CEO of the Foundation for the past four years. According to a spokesman for the foundation, Sirull was recognized for her role in the launch of its investing pool, which has quadrupled in assets in a short period of time. A spokesman said the investments have had tremendous impact on the community, ranging from construction of affordable housing to environmental sustainability to boosting economic and social development projects in Israel.

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Finally, The Crest Cafe, a family-owned cafe in Hillcrest, is the latest recipient of generous grant funding from Dave Portnoy’s The Barstool Fund. The fund was created in December 2020 as a small business COVID-19 relief organization. A spokesman said the cafe will receive $15,000 a month for at least 3-months. The 38-year-old cafe has faced numerous challenges since March when pandemic stay-at-home orders were first issued. Media celebrity Portnoy created the fund with $500,000 of his own money. It has since raised more than $27 million from more than 190,000 supporters. Customers can order online at crestcafe.net.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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