Nevada County residents struggle with high cost of housing

The high cost of housing in Nevada County is prompting some residents to move elsewhere.

Carley Palmerton grew up here and works at a hotel in Grass Valley. This is where she’s raised her family. But she and her family are moving to Yuba City, where they were able to find better housing at a lower cost.

Palmerton describes Nevada County’s rental market as very, very poor.

“Unless you make at least $65,000 a year,” she said. “The only people I know who make that much are people who move up here from the Bay Area and retired people who have a great retirement.”

“To me, that’s what this town is turning into,” Palmerton added. “Nothing but a retirement haven.”

This is not just a local problem, however.

Activists with Tenants Together, a statewide organization for renters’ rights, staged a Renter’s Day of Action on Tuesday in Sacramento. Frustrated by rising rental costs, demonstrators gathered at the Capitol to demand more affordable housing.

Here in Nevada County, Palmerton speaks from experience when she says that having children or pets can make house-hunting difficult.

“I feel as though it’s very sad that local residents aren’t able to afford to live here anymore,” Palmerton said. “Especially if they have kids or animals.

“We couldn’t find an affordable house,” she continued. “If we got an apartment, we’d have to get rid of our dog. It’s very disheartening.”

After the recent death of her landlord, Ray Lewis, the Palmerton family’s home is being sold, so she and her family have to move out.

Palmerton says that rental prices in Grass Valley and Nevada City have risen too much in recent years. As a result, they looked to surrounding communities for someplace close enough to commute.

She’s not alone. In researching this article, The Union spoke with several individuals who have contemplated relocating due to the high cost of housing in or around Grass Valley and Nevada City.

One Union staffer is even leaving the paper and the area due to frustration over finding an affordable residence.

The expensive rental market is a positive for some, however.

“Renting houses is a good business. It’s been a good investment for many people to be a landlord,” said Dick Law, with Paul Law Property Management in Grass Valley.

Law says housing costs are affected by the Bay Area’s economy, but there are other factors in play, such as Grass Valley’s proximity to outdoor recreational opportunities.

“There’s a reason we live here,” Law said. “There’s a reason we take jobs here, and it’s not that they pay. It’s the lifestyle. We can raise our children, have good schools for them and live in a good environment.”

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, call 530-477-4230 or send emails to dbrooksher@theunion.com.


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The Union Updated Feb 20, 2014 08:59AM Published Feb 21, 2014 01:42PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.