Sunday, March 06, 2005

Suburbia Takes Shape in Imperial Valley
EL CENTRO, Calif. — A big indoor mall opens Wednesday, eight months after the area's first stand-alone Starbucks hit town. Several national homebuilders have staked ground as bulldozers prepare more farmland for construction. The Imperial Valley — a desert region of 160,000 people and a notoriously high unemployment rate — is witnessing a surge in new homes and stores for middle-income families. Homebuilders are betting that the Imperial Valley will become San Diego's next bedroom community, another example of how California's climbing home prices are forcing people to live farther from work. The 230-mile round trip to San Diego and back takes about four hours, but here it's easy to find a new home for less than $300,000. In San Diego, the median price of a resale home hit $580,000 in January.

I have three words for you: this is madness.