Real Estate is one of five strategic activity areas of the Port of San Diego. The Port currently administers approximately 400 separate tenancy agreements. Revenue from real estate assets and developments, primarily building and ground rents and concession fees, was approximately $62 million in FY 2001-2002. The Port of San Diego collects rents from many hotels, restaurants, parking facilities, yacht clubs, etc. around the San Diego Bay.
Prior to 2006, San Diego experienced a dramatic growth of real estate prices, to the extent that the situation was sometimes described as a "housing affordability crisis". Median house prices more than tripled between 1998 and 2007. According to the California Association of Realtors, in May 2007, a median house in San Diego cost $612,370. Growth of real estate prices has not been accompanied by comparable growth of household incomes: Housing Affordability Index (percentage of households that can afford to buy a median-priced house) fell below 20% in early 2000s. San Diego metropolitan area had the second worst median multiple (ratio of median house price to median household income) of all metropolitan areas in the United States. As a consequence, San Diego had experienced negative net migration since 2004, with significant numbers of people moving to Baja California and Riverside county, with many residents commuting daily from Tijuana, Temecula, and Murrieta, to their jobs in San Diego. Others are leaving the state altogether and moving to more affordable regions.
From 2005 to 2007, San Diego experienced more than a 15% decline in real estate prices, which continued to accelerate into 2008. The two-year drop already experienced is worse than the four-year period between June, 1992, and November, 1996, when the region experienced an 11.8% decline in housing prices. Much of the decrease is blamed on the speculative attitude of investors in the early 2000s, who bought much of the available real estate, hoping to "flip" it for a large profit shortly thereafter, and the availability of "stated income" and other "exotic" loans available. When the decline hit, and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) adjusted, many investors simply abandoned their properties, and areas that recently experienced double-digit annual increases in property value, such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas were hit the hardest. In the first quarter of 2008, the number of foreclosures repossessed by banks exceeded the number of home sales.
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