Commentary | Why average folks can’t afford a home in Ventura



By Charles Voigtsberger

At a chamber board of directors meeting two directors got into an argument about the amount of taxes and fees included in the cost of a new home in the City of Ventura. One, a realtor, stated that the cost of taxes and fees amounted to 49% of the cost of a new home. Another ultra liberal member immediately chimed in with, “Oh, no, its’s not, it’s only 29%.”

The median price of a new home in the City of Ventura at that time was $150,00 (Yeah, it was at least a couple of years ago).

If we assume that the real figure for taxes and fees is somewhere between 29% and 49% and settle on the figure of 30% to be conservative in our approach, that means the taxes and fees on the mythical median priced homes at that time were $45,000. At the time I thought that was ghastly.

I am sure in the intervening years since that argument took place, taxes and fees have not regressed. So let’s assume for the sake of this letter that they have remained fixed at 30% and lets assume that the mythical median price of a new home in Ventura is $250,000. That means that the builder has to pony up $75,000 in either take out loans or, heaven forbid, his own money on each house in his tract. This is before he even sees a dime of sales income. It doesn’t include the cost of a single nail or stick of lumber — oh, and by the way, the state has imposed a 10% “depletion fee” (in non-newspeak that is called a tax) on lumber sold in the state, so you can add that into the 30% because that figure was derived in the non-depletion fee days.

After digesting these really conservative figures, does anyone reading this wonder why average folks can’t afford a home in Ventura? It isn’t that they want to buy a brand new McMansion, but when the price of new McMansions is only within reach of some folks on the public payroll, it affects the cost of that 850 square foot fixer upper on the Avenue.

I don’t know how these figures apply to the City of Oxnard, but considering their dire spending habits, I suspect they apply in Oxnard as well.

Charles Voigtsberger is a resident of Ventura County

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William Hicks

Combine this with supply and demand and you really have a pickle of a mess. And the only alternative that Thousand Oaks City Council seems to have is something on the order of combined business/residential zoning that sounds more and more like a collectivist lifestyle, while ignoring the over 30% open space policies our city.