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By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: are you a 'NIMBY' or a 'YIMBY?'


Last updated 3/29/2018 at 9:14pm

The terms are “NIMBY” for “not in my backyard” or “YIMBY” for “yes in my backyard.”

This issue always stops people in their proverbial tracks. Everyone likes to see themselves as open and inviting, but what’s their line in the sand? Is there a way to keep Fallbrook and Bonsall rural and quaint, while welcoming more like-minded homeowners, filling new jobs and lending to a thriving economy?

It seems like I read articles daily about the housing shortage in San Diego County, the state of California and all across the United States. The state of California adds approximately 1.5 million people every year, and home construction is at the lowest level in 60 years of recordkeeping. Millennials have come to the party ready to buy but are being shown the door.

Back in 2008, housing prices plummeted, so builders stopped building. In Fallbrook and Bonsall, the area lost 65 percent of their home values. Even now, it hasn’t fully recovered, with the average price still lingering approximately 10 percent below peak numbers in 2007. But, clearly property values are high enough that builders could build again, so what’s stopping them?

One answer is the county. Fallbrook and Bonsall are an unincorporated community, so building approvals and permits have to go through the county planning and building departments. The process is expensive and tedious to say the least, and it can take two years to complete. Restrictive building codes, zoning requirements and rules meant to improve quality of life end up increasing the cost to build.

The second answer is NIMBY-ism. It has always existed; however it’s an ever-growing movement. Once a NIMBY settles into a community, they generally don’t want it to change. The rationale is that they bought into it the way it was for a reason, and by golly, it’s going to stay that way.

The thing is, the community still needs homes. It needs a lot of homes to meet housing needs. San Diego County created 141,162 new jobs in 2017, but homebuilders only filed 40,434 new permits. That increase is in no way going to support those new jobs, which means those people will be driving from somewhere else, probably from Riverside County and causing the already difficult commuter traffic problems to get even worse. County planners are trying to drive development close to the traffic corridors like Interstate 15 and Interstate 5, which helps keep the heart of this community rural and homey, just like residents like it. But despite the county’s efforts, NIMBYs continue to stand in the way of development through vocal discord and even lawsuits.

Consider this point. One negative consequence of not building more homes is the unbearable price of rent. When homes were foreclosed after 2008, investors scooped up thousands of properties and held them for rent. That’s great for the investors, but sky-high rents hurt community members. As the economy strengthens, jobs will be created, and these hard-working folks will need a place to live, whether they live in rentals or buy homes.

Homeownership is a cornerstone of a strong community. People who own their home care about their home, care about their community and care about their schools. They show that commitment by supporting local nonprofits, school sports teams and local businesses. A stronger community equates to more buying power for local retail shop owners. More business for those shop owners equates to better merchandise and a thriving downtown, which is what people moving to the community are craving. They want a cute downtown with fun restaurants and boutique stores to enjoy with friends. Pride of ownership equates to pride of community.

Just some thoughts to ponder the next time a new development is proposed. Ask if you’re being a NIMBY, or if you’re open to being a YIMBY like a growing group in San Francisco are doing. These leaders have taken the stance that they’d rather have a voice in the process by saying “yes,” rather than saying “no” and leaving the story to play out with the politicians and the voters from outside their neighborhood.

Just my humble opinion. ‘Till next time.

Kim Murphy can be reached at or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N. Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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