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Borrego's Booming Real Estate Market: Opportunity or Sucker-Bait

August 2005

The article “THE HOTTEST MARKET | Weather or not, Borrego Springs attracts buyers even in summer,” appeared recently in The San Diego Union – Tribune Sunday edition. [1] While the article pays lip service to Borrego’s serious and worsening groundwater problem, it is largely glossed over. Left unsaid is that the extremely rapid growth of the past several years will greatly aggravate the existing overdraft of Borrego's sole-source aquifer. Too bad.

The article also points out that "A lot of buyers are coming from the Palm Desert area," where the congestion has become horrendous" it neglects to mention that continued in-migration and uncontrolled growth in the Valley will soon create a Palm Desert South in Borrego, thus destroying the very thing that is most attractive about the area – if the aquifer is not exhausted first.

"For [Hal] Sealund, [Catherine Gay] Oswalt and other local Realtors, the impetus for staying open despite sweltering heat has never been greater." Sealund said: "In the 33 years I've been here, this is the biggest upsurge in prices and transactions I can remember -- both land and new and existing houses. I don't think it's peaked. We have a backlog of people waiting. Contractors have a backlog. Everybody is busy." Oswalt added: "This is the best year in spec(ulative) home building I've seen."

Statistics from DataQuick Information Systems confirm their impressions; i.e., “42 homes were sold in 1995, compared to 195 in 2004.”

The realtors do acknowledge that there are some limitations, however. "Water is an issue that is being looked at closely here,and rightfully so. . . In the case of new homes, water meter hookups are not a problem at the present time, however, it's always advisable when you plan to build to investigate what is allowable in terms of all utilities." That's putting it mildly. If you plan to buy or build in the Borrego Valley it is mandatory that you realize how precarious our groundwater situation is and that it may well run out before your mortgage is paid off. Should you decide to ignore this very real possibility and buy or build anyway, realize that, in so doing, you are becoming part of a growing problem to which there is no solution in sight.

[1]THE HOTTEST MARKET | Weather or not, Borrego Springs attracts buyers even in summer; Valerie Lemke. The San Diego Union - Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Aug 21, 2005. pg. I.

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