Just to the left of the words you are reading now is an inset detailing the international page view figures for this blog over the last 30 or so days. As you can see, the vast majority of those clicking on The Tattler are from the United States. Which makes perfect sense. And I believe that if Google was to break this all down a little more, most of that 54,176 figure would have come from California. Or even Los Angeles County. This is a local blog, after all, and deals with things that ordinarily don't translate very well in places far away. With many Europeans probably confusing us with a popular Mexican vacation destination celebrated in a song you can listen to by clicking here.
But our biggest overseas growth market for site traffic is now mainland China. With 2,407 hits in the last thirty days, or nearly double what the Mountain Views News website gets overall during one of its better months, it is obvious that we have caught the attention of interested folks from afar.
I've thought about why this might be, and decided it has to be the articles on McMansions. That and there are some people here who have a serious problem with them. It is certainly not the kind of thing you'd want to hear too much about, especially if it was you that was investing vast sums of cash in Southern California on just these kinds of real estate ventures.
Back on March 24 the Los Angeles Times published an article called "Wealthy Chinese home buyers boost suburban L.A. housing markets" (link). I think it adds some credence to my theories about our newfound readership.
The overflow from China's economic high tide is transforming the housing markets of suburban Los Angeles. Affluent Chinese home buyers are driving prices past boom-era peaks, spawning a subset of property brokers and mortgage lenders that cater to their distinct needs — and even dictate design details in new subdivisions.
The strongest magnet is the San Gabriel Valley, where Monterey Park became known as the "first suburban Chinatown" in the 1970s. Selling real estate there now requires familiarity with feng shui, the ancient Chinese principles of harmonious design.
"People are getting money out of mainland China and sticking it here," said Mel Wong, president of the West San Gabriel Valley Assn. of Realtors.
The trend appears unlikely to unwind soon. More than 60% of China's wealthy have left or plan to leave the country, at least part time, and their No. 1 destination is the United States, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai publishing firm focused on recently minted millionaires and billionaires.
Despite dizzying ups and downs in U.S. home prices, the market can seem more stable than in China, where fears of a property bubble have added to the economic and political worries of the burgeoning middle and upper classes.
Motivations vary by location. Luxury estates in San Marino are bargains by Chinese standards; inexpensive Inland Empire homes are purchased as investments; top-shelf schools draw throngs to Irvine.
Eva Chen and her husband travel between their homes in Shanghai and Arcadia, where they purchased a property near Santa Anita Park in October. They scooped up the second home as an escape from pollution and a shot at better schools for their two infants.
Compared with housing prices in China, the $1.27-million Arcadia property didn't seem expensive. "The Arcadia house is cheaper," Chen said.
But it's getting more expensive quickly. Heavy demand pushed the median home sales price past $1.32 million last quarter in Arcadia's 91007 ZIP Code — 30.5% above its peak in 2007, during the housing bubble, according to researcher DataQuick.
Next door in the 91006 ZIP Code, prices are up 23.7%. Other areas with prices exceeding their peaks include Walnut, Temple City, San Marino and parts of San Gabriel and East San Gabriel, all hubs for Chinese investment.
I guess I need to do some more McMansion articles. It seems there is an audience overseas that is very interested in what is going on around here. Obviously it is a growth market for blog traffic.
How residents could have more influence at City Council meetings
The following article was forwarded to me by a longtime reader. The underlying issue is a serious one, and the reaction of some people in the City of Albuquerque is, in my opinion, quite understandable.
But that said, we come from a City where certain elected officials practically pass out if someone speaks from the public comment podium for more than 3 minutes. So can you imagine if something like the following were to happen?
Albuquerque Residents Vow to Storm Another City Council Meeting (link) - Albuquerque, NM residents have vowed to storm another city council meeting set for tomorrow just days after they forced councilors to flee following a raucous protest against police brutality.
Demonstrators crowded Albuquerque city council chambers on Monday before serving a “people’s arrest warrant” against Albuquerque police chief Gorden Eden, causing him to make a hasty dash for the exit. Protesters also called for the removal of Mayor Richard Berry.
Residents are irate about rampant police brutality and corruption, with Albuquerque law enforcement officers having been responsible for 40 shootings since 2010, of which 25 were fatalities. The U.S. Justice Department also released a report last month which called for institutional reform to stem “patterns of excessive force” that have dogged the police department.
Residents have promised to keep up the pressure, starting with the rescheduled meeting on Thursday.
“Nora Tachias-Anaya, a local activist, says protesters are planning to attend a rescheduled council meeting Thursday and will not stop criticizing the Albuquerque Police Department,” reports the Associated Press.
If tomorrow’s meeting is anything like what unfolded on Monday, expect councilors to be heading for the exit doors once again.
University Professor David Correia, who led the takeover the of the council meeting, said that some of the demonstrators were prepared to be arrested as they engaged in a conscious act of civil disobedience, risking a fine and 3 months in jail.
Not that I necessarily recommend this kind of thing, but wouldn't it be interesting if people here in Sierra Madre felt that strongly about topics such as predatory real estate development?