The double-edged sword of gentrification has become a fact of life for long-time residents and community college students of Pasadena over the past few years.

While San Francisco, New York City and Downtown Los Angeles might get the lion’s share of media attention for the cost of renting an apartment to astronomical levels, the generally quiet town of Pasadena has come close to entering California’s top 20 list of most expensive places to rent in recent years.

Without an affordable place to live, students of PCC and their parents, whom they might often live with, could end up finding it difficult to stay in the city eventually becoming displaced and taking the community out of PCC.

According to online apartment listing services Apartment List and Rent Jungle, the average cost of a single-bedroom in Pasadena rose 18 percent in 2014 and another 10 percent in 2015.

There is plenty to blame for the rising cost. For one, the 2008 recession didn’t help. As the initial waves of unemployment came crashing in it became more difficult to pay rent in the already expensive city.

When combined with a stunted housing development, the situation makes for a supply-demand relationship that benefits those who have a larger disposable income.

Much of the increase can be attributed to the steady spread of gentrification throughout the city, a phenomenon that has slowly snuck into people’s neighborhoods and consciousness over the past few years.

The practice of renovating an area to appeal to middle-class taste has seen its fair share of praise and denouncement. Although gentrification is often heralded for fostering business growth, bringing in additional revenue and cleaning up cities, the side-effects of rapidly transforming municipalities has also spurred criticism.

North Pasadena and West Altadena residents have expressed feelings of alienation, devaluation and displacement when long-time businesses that use to cater to them have to shutter their doors after landowners seized on the opportunity to increase their own profit.

The basic practice of raising rent isn’t the problem. The bigger issue is that Pasadena stands as one of the few California cities to lack proper rent control. This allows for landowners to increase rent with very limited restrictions.

The lack of rent control affects both businesses and residences. When individuals with deep pockets start showing interest in the untapped Pasadena areas, the current residents are at the mercy of their landlords in hopes that they don’t try to cash in.

What ends up replacing once familiar places are new, trendier, often times more expensive, alternatives.

As students and their families are both culturally and financially pushed out of the surrounding areas, it has the potential to change the make-up of the community and by extension PCC.

If long-time community members are eventually pushed into other neighborhoods, attending PCC might not be a sure bet as other, closer community colleges might seem more reasonable alternatives.

One Reply to “Rising costs and gentrification threaten Northern Pasadena communities”

  1. Rent control is a problem, not a solution. A property will be developed for its highest and best use. Once rent control is law, fewer apartments will be built, making the problem worse.
    Pasadena has been getting better for the last 20 years. Longer term, the 1970’s were the low point. I am tempted to call Halloween 1993 as a turning point when three innocent kids were shot down trick r treating, and a crack down on gangs ensued.
    I grew up in Pasadena/Altadena, and bought my first house for $60,000. My next door neighbors were gang members, and I moved out at 4 in the morning, but that’s another story. twenty years later, I sold that house ( renovated like original Craftsman) for $600,000, ten times my purchase price.
    Pasadena, and Altadena had great value waiting to be noticed by others. It has been noticed.
    The thing is, you cant have large old classic houses stay cheap forever. I thought it would take fifty years. It took twenty from my 1984 purchase.
    Rent prices are too high, and houses cost to much. I own apartments, and frankly I hate charging so much, but that’s the numbers in this business. Its all supply and demand. As long as its costly to build, and more people live here, the upward pressure on rents will generally continue.
    Rent control is like a cost….a heavy cost, and the investment is worth less, thus less new ones will be built.
    As for the price of a house……..something will crack. Interest rates are artificially low, and eventually will change. When someone can buy a 650,000 house with a 3.5% interest rate, the low rate is supporting the price of the house. Even a longer term average rate of 7% would almost double the monthly payments.
    ** Real estate is the best way anyone who is determined, can become wealthy
    ** The dollar is a FIAT currency, and we are close to the end of the printing bubble that began decades ago. It will crash along with all global currencies.
    Everything will change, and be reset. You can be swept away with it, or get rich from it. Look it up for yourself, and prepare. You can thank me in 3-10 years. (Timing is a guess) These things tend to happen when they happen, and jump out when few are seeing it coming…..

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