On Lopez, income from one good season of salmon fishing used to be enough to buy a piece of land and build a fancy house. How things have changed!
Now, to be able to afford the 30-year mortgage payment for a median-priced home listed in San Juan County, a family needs an annual income of $140,000 or more. Sadly the median annual income here is not even close to half of that.
Our county is facing a worsening housing affordability crisis because the economics of wages, living expenses and housing costs is not what it used to be. Despite having a fulltime job or patching together many part-time ones, many of our friends and fellow islanders who work to provide essential services in our community still struggle to find an affordable home to own or rent.
So what can we do as a community?
One easy thing is to vote in support of the initiative on the November ballot to establish a home fund to preserve, acquire or create affordable housing. The proposed real estate excise tax of 0.5 percent on future property transactions is not a property tax but simply a one-time transaction tax on the purchase of real estate.
This is a local solution to our local problem. Join us in being part of the solution. Vote yes.
Chris and Chom Greacen