A couple of curious things about Fresno

Like the late Rodney Dangerfield, Fresno gets no respect. The name itself has been treated as a joke.

But Fresno is not a small place. It's larger than Sacramento and around 60% the size of San Francisco, and it has also become a major hotspot in California's housing crisis.

From the LA Times:

The sky-high rents in the Bay Area and Los Angeles garner most of the attention in debates about California’s housing affordability woes. But few places in the country have seen such dramatic growth in what it costs to rent an apartment as Fresno, the state’s fifth-largest city.

The monthly rent for an average apartment in Fresno has gone up nearly 60% since 2017 to $1,469. Fresno’s median home value has risen almost as much over the same time and is now $331,000.

This is not a recent development.

Remember Paul Krugman's theory (discussed here) about high income, high tech enclaves? You don't get much further from that than Fresno. The area is poor. The economic driver is agriculture. 

It's not picking up spillover from a major metropolitan area. It's the biggest city for more than two hours in any direction.

Nor can you blame a population surge. The city's growth rate over the past decade is the lowest it has ever been since it was incorporated in 1885. 

But here's the part that puzzles me most about Fresno and to a lesser degree, about most cities west of the Mississippi suffering through the housing (Read more...)