Deadly California Fires Stretch an Already Tight Housing Market


BLOOMBERG (October 13, 2017) – Ethan de Seife and Laura Holtan moved to California’s Sonoma County from Vermont last year with their newborn son, two cats and a dog in tow, immediately running up against a harsh reality: the state’s housing market is expensive, and inventory-starved.

It took the couple a month of scouring online listings and vetting properties before they secured a four-bedroom house to rent for $2,800 a month in the Hidden Valley neighborhood of Santa Rosa.

Now, they have to start again — while picking up the pieces of a life reduced to rubble. De Seife and Holtan awoke in the middle of the night on Oct. 9 to the smell of smoke and were soon evacuated as fire roared toward the area, ultimately burning down their house. The family is bunking with friends south of San Francisco and weighing offers of assistance while trying to determine a more permanent living plan, which may ultimately mean leaving the state.

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