Cost of Gentrification

While all eyes are on fluctuating gas prices, some are keeping their eye on the real estate market. As the economy booms, prices go up, peaking near the end of 2021, and are expected to plateau with higher rates in the near future. As more money goes into the economy, the working class finds it hard to keep up. Meanwhile, an influx of new workers move to Texas, flooding the housing market with more revenue and demand. 

“Our house started off at $1,750 [per month], and after a year, during Covid, it went up $100,” junior Mohammad Abdelqader said. “Now we are paying $2,050 [a month] for a house in Mckinney, but the house we moved out of is now at $2,500 [a month] and it’s way smaller than the one we have in McKinney.”

With inflation becoming a common theme in citizens’ lives, an increase in demand and supply costs caused housing prices to skyrocket. During the pandemic, the housing market was temporarily in limbo as supply issues caused more demand than supply, raising the costs of old homes in property-rich areas like Plano.

“16 years ago, the housing market in Plano was very accessible,” math teacher Eric Tuzin said. “You didn’t have to have a super high-paying job. Over time the housing market has just skyrocketed and now a lot of people, like teachers, can barely afford homes.”

According to Plano’s Neighborhood Services, the rising prices in houses is no match for the average income of residents of Plano. In March, the average home sold for $518,000, while the median income was $99,729. To account for Covid and rising inflation, teachers in the district were awarded a raise last year to help combat rising costs of living. 

“The school district did give us a nice raise to account for inflation,” Tuzin said. “I think my salary is about 61 thousand dollars a year. When I started in 2016 it was around 51 thousand but ultimately, my purchasing power has gone down because of inflation.”

In the past few years, Plano has become a booming city. With big companies like Toyota moving their company headquarters here, residents are finding that their chance of owning a home decreased because these companies bring with them a hoard of employees from cities with more expensive housing markets, like California. While the real estate market in California has been known for its high property taxes, many people move to states like Texas with comparatively lower taxes which increases the value, and thus cost, of houses in cities like Plano. 

 “The housing market in California is what we’re looking at coming here, where everything costs an arm and a leg and so they’re selling their homes in California for $2 million and then they’re moving here and in their eyes these houses are cheap,” Tuzin said.

With the new discovery of “cheap” houses during the pandemic, the real estate market saw an increase in all-cash offers. With more money to spend, new citizens would pay over the asking price in all cash, some even going as far as to waive the house inspection effectively taking houses off the market and out of reach for first-time home buyers who are already residents of the city. 

 “If I want to buy a house in Plano, there’s not going to be a whole lot out there that I can afford, so unfortunately I’m just going to have to find somewhere else to live,” Tuzin said.