Letters to the Editor: First-time buyer sees a starter home. Developer sees a tear-down. That’s the problem

A for-sale sign outside a home.
A for-sale sign outside a townhome.
(Phillip Molnar / San Diego Union-Tribune)

To the editor: Your article left out another reason first-time buyers are having difficulty buying starter homes — these homes are all being torn down.

Some time ago, realtors figured out that if a client had a smaller, older home, they could recommend the client sell to a developer, who would then tear down the house and build a much larger, lot-filling box that would sell for twice the original price (or more). The realtor would then sell that house, getting a second, larger commission. Or better yet, the realtor could form a development company and keep it all in the family.

Your article implies that a smaller, older house in Los Angeles will end up in the hands of a loving owner who had the cash to outbid other buyers and will appreciate its unique character. I cringe when I see those houses go up for sale, knowing that there will be a cyclone fence around it within a month. And usually I’m right.


Sandra Willard, Los Angeles


To the editor: It’s become clear to me that affordable housing is not about the cost of materials and labor and permitting policies, although they play a part. Rather, it’s about the desirability of location.

After all, do you ever hear of proposals to set up tiny-home villages in Brentwood, San Marino or Beverly Hills? Actually, I’d like to see those, but I’m not holding my breath.

While I’m a bleeding-heart progressive YIMBY, I do have some sympathy for the NIMBYs. We probably could house a large segment of those who currently don’t have a roof over their head by setting up communities outside Los Angeles County, but I’m sure that would violate some ethical concern.

I spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating solutions to the homelessness problem, but for every good idea anyone comes up with there are several reasons why you can’t do it. Sign me frustrated.

Ron Garber, Duarte