Readers’ comments: May 31, 2024

Higher paying jobs would make housing affordable
Dear editor:
In a recent “Going There” column [“I guess our kids live with us forever now,” May 24] Mick Rhodes touched upon the idea that his kids may be living at home indefinitely. This sentiment surely resonates with many families, with the key issue being housing affordability in Claremont.
Affordability hinges on both housing costs and household income.
Regarding housing costs, and further to Mick’s point, the median house price of $904,210 quoted may be conservative. Redfin suggests $935,000 (reaching $1.1 million in March), while Zillow and estimate $1 million or more. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, as of March 2024 the median sale price of homes in Claremont increased by 41.9% compared to the previous year.
These figures underscore the financial challenges facing prospective, and especially first-time home buyers. Claremont should, of course, continue creating more affordable housing options. However, doing so can take a long time and final construction costs and selling prices can be affected by market forces.
So, increasing household income becomes the remaining option. Legislative Analyst’s Office figures from March 2024 indicate the annual household income required to qualify for a mortgage on a mid-tier California home stands at approximately $235,000. While expanding Claremont’s inventory of restaurants, hotels, and other retail businesses has value, the associated jobs may not compensate sufficiently to support homeownership. If Claremont is intent on improving housing affordability, then it is to Claremont’s advantage to help create/attract high value businesses with jobs that pay at such a level as to enable people to buy their own homes. While there is no guarantee that such jobs would be filled by Claremont residents, certainly none will be if they never exist. Claremont should opt for making it possible, even if only reasonably probable.
Russ Binder

Small retail shops are ‘fascinating’ too
Dear editor:
I am writing in regard to the article written by Editor Mick Rhodes in the Claremont Living supplement to last week’s Courier, “All these years later, Claremont continues to fascinate.” I too was fascinated, but not entirely in a positive way.
In it, Mick starts with what we all know are his passions and history from reading his weekly stories: his band, adult beverages, parties and fun. He then writes about restaurants, both old and new, family owned and chains, before moving on to theater and live music — while highlighting two businesses that are not even located in Claremont (with one mentioned not once, but twice in the piece). Not taking anything away from these businesses, but I am not sure what creates Claremont fascination with Upland based businesses. Then it is on to the colleges with all they have to offer and finishing with Claremont’s storied art scene.
Yes, Claremont does have a lot to offer. But you know what else we have? Small retail and specialty shops! Unique, one of a kind, family owned and operated, and exclusive to Claremont. Some of these businesses have been there for decades. From fashions to furnishings, toy stores to shoe repair, framing to kitchen needs, photography to pharmacy, and so much more, our businesses help make Claremont a place to eat, drink, shop, walk, enjoy and remember.
Mick writes that “this is of course just a glancing look,” but to overlook and not mention at all the businesses that provide tax dollars to the city and jobs to individuals who put their blood, sweat and tears into what they do every day to make the Claremont experience a positive one, is, well, both fascinating and ultimately highly disappointing.
Brian Ofstedahl

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