Santa Barbara Family Featured in New York Times Article on Affordable House Hunting

The Rancho Goleta Lakeside community with manufactured homes in Goleta (courtesy)

A Santa Barbara family was featured in a New York Times series on affordable home availability throughout the nation.

Lindsey and Meghan Zero, along with their son Milo, were interviewed about their struggle to find a suitable home which led them to explore a “less conventional” option: a manufactured-home park near the beach.

The Zeros, who have been living in the Santa Barbara area for about a decade, realized that the city’s beautiful landscapes and Spanish architecture come with a steep cost of living. In the article the couple describes the area being beautiful but a tough place to make ends meet.

Lindsey, 40, runs a landscaping, design, and construction company and Meghan, 36, works as an undergraduate advisor at UC Santa Barbara.

Their quest for homeownership began in 2014 when they moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Summerland. Over the years, they moved between rentals in the hopes of saving enough to afford a home. However, as the housing market boomed, the dream of owning a traditional single-family home on the South Coast became increasingly unattainable.

The couple, frustrated with rental issues and determined to find a solution, began searching for alternative housing options. With a budget of around $850,000 and $450,000 in savings, they explored the possibility of purchasing a home in a manufactured-home park about seven miles west of the city, the article states.

After visiting the Rancho Goleta Lakeside community, a 140-home, resident-owned complex with amenities such as a pool, clubhouse, and lake, the Zeros were pleasantly surprised by the proximity to the university and the beach, as well as meeting other families with young children. The community began to seem like a practical answer to their housing needs.

The family settled on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with a roomy interior, new vinyl plank flooring, and a spacious living room and dining area, listed at $665,000.

The Zero family’s experience sheds light on the growing trend of families turning to unconventional housing solutions as traditional homeownership becomes more challenging.

Read the full article here.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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    • Affordable housing in SB is a a farce.
      Is there affordable housing available in Hope Ranch? Montecito? Malibu? Hawaii?
      If it were that easy, I would be living in Hope ranch estate paying little to nowhere near what it cost.
      It is reality. If you don’t like it move elsewhere.
      Please do not comment that we need these workers, if there is a need they will fill the position and pay for it / customers will pay for it – simple economics.

      • “Please do not comment that we need these workers” – We need these workers. How do you plan to keep our parks clean, hotels and restaurants running, streets safe, classes taught, etc etc etc?

        “if there is a need they will fill the position” – Yeah, so doctors’ kids are going to drop out of college to run the golf courses? Lawyers and tech gurus are going to quit their jobs to become teachers and cops?

        Come on, do tell how you expect all “these workers” who can’t afford to live here to be replaced by those who can afford it? This should be interesting. Get your note pads out, folks!

        • There are plenty of folks who can perform “cleaning the parks, hotels, restaurants, etc.” here in town, or commute here.
          Doctors, lawyers are going to drop out of college to run a golf course rather than moving to a more affordable community? They have choices.
          My point is if you plan on living in a very expensive town, plan for it or plan otherwise.
          We will be fine without folks moving here from NY.

          • GOLETA – you missed the point. You say we don’t need workers who can’t afford to live here.

            The workers who can’t afford to live here (unless they were lucky and have a place now that is affordable) are not replaceable by those who can afford to live here (eg, doctors, lawyers, other high paying positions).

            We need cops, teachers, maintenance workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers, plumbers, electricians, etc etc. Those types of jobs generally do not pay enough to be able to afford rent or a mortgage in this town.

              • I wasn’t commenting on the article, just your comment:

                “Please do not comment that we need these workers, if there is a need they will fill the position”

                I disagree. We DO need workers that can’t afford to live here because those who CAN afford to live here are not going to fulfill those duties. Pretty simple.

                • You just want to argue as always – try staying on topic.
                  We need the workers, but SB does not need to give them ‘affordable housing’ as that is again unrealistic.

                  I want a Ferrari – should the county pay for it?
                  If you cannot afford to live here, consider somewhere else.

                  Commute – very simple.

                  • Ah, here is your problem local: you like simple. It’s understandable – complexity and nuance is hard and takes thought, brain power, and compromise.

                    “Commute” sounds so simple – until it isn’t. Teachers, as an example – why would they commute from Ventura if Ventura schools actually pay more than SB schools? Extrapolate that to everyone on the various pay scales – including doctors. (Have you heard about the OB/GYN shortage in town?)

                    Affordable housing is necessary. How we get there (UCSB and cottage creating their own housing for employees, Section 8, affordable condos that are sale price fixed for 40-60 years, low cost apartments that are tied to being employed in SB in particular jobs) – is complicated.

                    • The UCSB Doc who doesn’t work at UCSB as a doctor says “You think we can build or way into affordability for all,”

                      No one ever said we should build more units. I’ve explained this ad nauseum. You need to make an effort to understand what those you are arguing against are actually saying. Until then, I just can’t anymore.

                    • And here’s your problem mm, you’re not living in real life. Nor is Sack. You think we can build or way into affordability for all, and many folks who don’t like gridlock, environmental degradation, and overdevelopment completely disagree. Your and Newsom’s forced experiment is NOT going to work.

                    • “it is a choice, not a right.” – Yup and no one here has ever said anything different, if you actually take the time to read.

                      The point myself and others are making is that it’s in our best interest to have those essential workers working and living here. The harder it is to live here, the less of these critical employees will work here. We can’t live without them.

                      It’s a simple point, but one far past some people’s comprehension.

                    • Insults aside, you are missing the simple point.
                      They have a CHOICE to decide to work and or live in SB.
                      It is not complicated or necessary.
                      There are other places to live.

                    • BASIC – of course, people make choices and no one should be given a free ride just because they want to live here. No one is saying that though. What we are saying is very different and I’m tired of explaining it to you two.

                      Glad you got yours, but not everyone is able to work AND live here, despite their CHOICE to work hard and go to college.

                    • I think Goleta has it right – everyone makes choices. We’ve done that, right and wrong, in life. Who hasn’t? No one should get taxpayer-facilitated into their nice home and lifestyle where they want, especially in a place where it’s very expensive to live. There are many other options and pure market economics will ultimately take over.

                    • GOLETA – can you explain what “poor choices” you’re talking about? The choice to become a teacher or ER nurse? Do tell what “poor choices” these people have made?

                    • But it is a CHOICE. No one said take the job knowing the commute may be hell?
                      It is simple, if you know the commute will be bad don’t take the job. Choice.
                      If there is a shortage, that job will require a higher salary to compensate for the void.
                      Choice. Take it or not.
                      It is called Capitalism, and that is the law of the land, like it or not.
                      Our state is doomed by thinking we can fix peoples poor choices.
                      SF alone stands as a perfect example of failed CA. policy.

                    • mm1970 – hit it on the head there. His ilk are always quick with a “solution” – just don’t live here. Any attempt to explain or present ideas that are contrary to the simple mindedness is met with trolling and insults.

                      We’re luck to live in a state that’s not governed by this type of all or nothing thought.

                  • Please try to be mature here, GOLETA. I’m 100% on topic. I just disagree with you.

                    Yes, we DO need those workers for our city to function, but they shouldn’t all have to commute. Why would they chose to continue working here?

                    You really want to tell your kids’ teachers to move out of town and commute? Emergency responders? Young DAs/Public Defenders? Medical staff?

                    Sorry, but I just don’t accept that as a solution. We can leave it at that as I can see you’re starting to get how you get.

                    • “Where there is a high paying job, it will be filled.” – I’m not talking about high paying jobs.

                      But, we’re done here. I’m not going to get dragged into another childish back and forth with you.

                    • Comical, Did you help paint the blue line around SB showing where climate change would rise the ocean to?
                      Where there is a high paying job, it will be filled.

                    • Ok, so when people stop choosing to work here because they can’t afford to live here (which is happening on a wide scale, especially with middle class workers), how do we fill those positions? That is my point here.

                      When young attorneys, teachers, emergency responders, etc decide to work where they can live – not here – then how do we fill those roles with people who can afford to live here?

                    • Nobody has a right to live here or ‘shouldn’t’ have to commute.
                      They are CHOOSING to take a job here while realizing the housing costs are high. That is simply how it is.
                      If they don’t like it here – move.
                      If there is a need for Teachers, Emergency responders, DA, medical staff, they will fill the positions, and/or find others who are willing to do so – may be lucrative for those folks.
                      How I get? It’s called slow growth Goleta/SB.

  1. 450k in savings cry me a river.

    Other than a super stupid article congrats to this family for finding ” affordable housing” – obviously this kind of housing is far $$$$$ out of the reach of the majority of people in Santa Barbara.

    • I don’t think it’s stupid The NY Times decided to do an entire series on affordable housing throughout the U.S. It’s a known fact that wages have not kept up with costs, specifically housing, so the only generations benefiting from this are the older ones still paying $3,000 per year in property taxes on their Santa Barbara home.

  2. We do need affordable housing but developers seem to be the top priority so what we are getting instead
    is urban sprawl. Look what’s happening to Goleta, homes right up against the freeway, packed in dense developments.Montecito and Hope Ranch are always off limits. Affordable housing has been an issue through out SB history. Even Pearl Chase wrote about it. Ground water is disappearing at an alarming rate so the idea to just build and have only 20% barely affordable will ruin what makes SB wonderful. Now it’s traffic and sprawl and it is still unaffordable. Employee housing does not work either because the employee does not get the equity built up. Paying people more makes more sense .

      • Santa Barbara is working hard on the issue, for both La Cumbre Plaza and the Paseo Nuevo. Unlike the Goleta Valley (and I loved what was once the “good land”) SB city has distinct geographic limits, an historic small city squeezed between mountains and the ocean. Also: there are other factors: houses, including rentals, in the high fire sections of the city, can not get fire insurance…! The only way there will be affordable housing here is if it is made so unattractive, so like just about any city with tall stucco apartment buildings with no open space. With the Cearnal Collective designs, we’re well on the path to that destination.

  3. I think the “affordable housing” concept is a pipe dream as well. We could (and may well do so thanks to Newsom) build out every acre in the SB/Goleta area, thereby recreating LA’s sprawl and degrading the environment and all our quality of life. Water? Yeah, good luck with that.

    Not working and not GOING to work. Of course workers are needed. That’s not the issue of debate here, and that’s why GoletaLocal said that, anticipating the exact same response that came right away.

  4. It’s basic supply and demand economics, Sac. That’s all it boils down to, and that’s all it ever will. Also, have you spent much time in the Bay Area or LA on the last, oh 10 years let’s say? That’s what SB and Goleta will look like if what you and Newsom want comes to fruition.

    And yeah, the answer is “commute”, just as Local said – and hence the need for halfway decent mass-transit, which we are not even close to now. Thus far it’s been building (over what the last 10 years it’s taking, and still going…) more lanes on 101, so that each and every individual can drive my themself in their car to and from work. Nice.

      • Then they will decide for themselves, as an individual whether they prefer sitting in a car for 3-4 hours a day commuting, or choose to live somewhere else where they won’t have to do that. Why be so pessimistic on mass transit? It works elsewhere. It’s really the only solution. We shouldn’t keep building more and more lanes on 101.

        • Huh? I’m not pessimistic about it working, I’m pessimistic about a viable mass transit system being implemented in the first place. I’m talking better commuter trains, more buses from outside cities to ours, etc. Heck, maybe even a hydrofoil ferry from Ventura to SB. Hundreds of thousands of cars idling on the 101 for hours a day and belching pollution into surrounding neighborhoods and beaches should not be an acceptable option.

        • I agree that mass transit works and often works very well elsewhere! Maybe every Santa Barbara voter should be required to use the 101 between Sheffield Drive to Turnpike once/week between 3-5pm and 7-9 am, documenting what they see, at least one weekday/week for a month. …I think a big problem for mass transit here is that so many voters do not appreciate how much traffic there already is in and through Santa Barbara and therefore do not push on their councilmembers who probably don’t drive the 101 at those times. Assemblymember Gregg Hart tried for years to get mass transit and probably would support efforts on the state level if there was a large enough outcry here.

      • That is the American way. Americans can choose to have a car if they want.
        You sound like a Socialist – time for you to move.
        “Socialism is an economic and political philosophy encompassing diverse economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production, as opposed to private ownership. It describes the economic, political, and social theories and movements associated with the implementation of such systems”

        • Sorry, GOLETA – I’m not moving anywhere. I’m not forcing anything on anyone. Just saying it is hard to implement a successful mass transit like the tyrannical “socialist” Europeans have because no one will use it, given the choice of having their own car and space. Maybe you should travel and see how other, more civilized countries live.

  5. There are plenty of families in SB an Goleta that could afford a $665K home — Saving the $130K down could take some time but doable if it was a priority. You need a total family income of about $150K a year.

  6. It simple – you can either commute or CHOOSE not not to.
    There are other jobs out there. Why people CHOOSE to go this route is insane, and not for taxpayers to accommodate them.
    Saying otherwise is promoting not going to college, not working hard because the government will bail you out with low budget housing, etc.
    Sorry, SB is expensive, and anyone who wants to live here knows it.

    • Wow GOLETA, that’s just…. wow.

      Teachers aren’t “going to college, not working hard?” How about cops? How about nurses? How about legal support staff, including licensed attorneys working for the DA or Public Defender or County Counsel? How about paramedics, first responders, etc? How about EVERYONE who went to college, worked hard and still can’t afford to work here and perform the NECESSARY jobs we need? F’*7kn unbelievable, yet not surprising coming from you.

      You need to expand your mind. It’s not simple. If everyone who couldn’t afford to live here moved away, SB would be in ruins.

      Commuting deters essential workers from accepting or continuing employment here. It also is incredibly polluting and bad for our planet’s health (which I doubt you care about). It also takes parents away from quality time with their children. Why would anyone do that just to come here to support people like you who got lucky and now want them out? I wouldn’t lift a finger for people like that.

  7. SB and Goleta are getting absolutely worse in terms of traffic, congestion around town, road repair, sitting at lights forever. It’s gotten so bad in the past few years compared to how it was even 10 years ago. But hey, if you want LA you can make it here. There used to be a slow-growth philosophy here. Some folks remember that. It’s was a good thing. King Newsom and those who support him in their efforts to build like crazy are at fault. Pure and simple. Can’t wait til that clown gets kicked to the road. Total slime-ball hypocrite. He’s screwing over the Delta too with his tunnels, which will divert massive amounts of water towards LA. Check it out.

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