Just to set the scene, when it comes to housing, EVERYONE here rents. Engineers for 25 years rent. Pastors rent. Newlyweds rent. Homeless people, had they the money to set aside for non-homelessness, would be renting.
And yet, the vanity that permeates this place dictates that they should not be left without fashionable wheels.
Enter this article. Basically, people are overspending for their rides. They are getting too much car.
This quote REALLY applies to Santa Barbara:
Treating cars as a status symbol. You can't watch television for long without being bombarded by car commercials, and many of us have absorbed the idea that we are what we drive. It's complete BS, of course, but some people have been so brainwashed that they literally drive themselves into bankruptcy.
And yet, they rent.
The real reason, I think, is that people fail to see the big picture. A car drops by a quarter of its value the instant you turn it over for the first time.
Historically, over a 10 year span, houses have always gone up in value.
1. You are seen out and about in your car. Being the vain place it is, Santa Barbarians must be seen in the latest/greatest/coolest. Anything less would lessen their social status.
2. People don't visit much here. I thought LA was flaky until I moved up here. People here in SB will say "oh, sure! We'll be down!" All the time. It rarely happens.
3. A house anchors you. People here take pride in their ability to pick up at a moment's notice. Making deep roots means that you have to invest in your community. People here are wary to make any kind of social commitment to one another. It interferes with their free spirit-ed-ness. In my opinion, it also detracts from building a sense of community.