This is a good news-bad news tale.
There’s more positive movement on the housing front with news this week that Solano County’s median home price jumped in July to $321,500. That’s a whopping increase of 25.4 percent from July 2013 and represents the largest jump among the nine Bay Area counties.
That’s certainly good news for those who own homes, particularly those who weathered the dark years of the Great Recession.
We bought our home in May 2010, near the bottom of the market. That was good for us because, frankly, we could not have afforded to purchase a home here during the boom times, when the county’s median home price peaked at $490,000 in November 2005 – or during the early years of the slide when prices were still higher than they are today. We were underwater on our loan for a short time early on as prices continued to fall.
Time and the economy took care of that: time in the fact that we’ve made monthly house payments for more than four years, the economy in that the housing market has rebounded. The latter has a real financial downside based on increased property taxes. Our house payment went up about $200 a month early this year to cover the increased tax obligation. I checked at the county and everything appears to be accurate. Our share of Measure Q, the $348 million tax passed in 2012 by voters to support Solano Community College, didn’t help matters, although it’s not so great a slice of the property tax pie.
When Jill and I got married in 2005, she was teaching in the classroom and teaching professional development courses through Fresno Pacific University. The two jobs combined made her the family’s primary breadwinner. I’m a journalist, so that’s not an unusual situation. She came out of the classroom two years later to focus on the FPU classes. We put a financial plan in place and then worked the plan, with the idea that we could make a go of it for one or two years and if necessary, she could go back into the classroom.
My job in Fairfield made me the primary breadwinner, which was fine. We continued to work our plan once we relocated to Fairfield, but watched our financial position erode over time.
I took a modest voluntary pay cut about three years ago and haven’t quite bounced back, although I’m close. There was a financial scare late last year with Jill’s work with Fresno Pacific. I already mentioned the increase in our house payment. The youngest child started college last fall. She finished the summer session this week – two classes – and is about to start the fall semester. So there are college fees and books added into the mix. We’re now a three-car family, which brings with it added costs.
Everything combined forced a change this summer to the Faison Plan. What started as a one- or two-year experiment lasted seven. That’s been a blessing – to both of us. But we saw that we would soon reach a point where something would have to give in a pretty significant way.
Here’s the revised Faison Plan: Jill landed a job as a sixth-grade teacher so she’ll once again be in the classroom as her job, with Fresno Pacific as her job-job. This makes us more than whole, so we can start putting some money aside. The two jobs combined, once the checks start rolling in, will make Jill our family’s primary breadwinner once again.
All’s right with the world.
Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.