North Bay fires may bring housing crisis of epic proportions

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Over 3,500 structures went up in smoke in the North Bay and when those people, those families staying short term now with family and friends start looking for a more permanent place while they rebuild, they are going to face another harsh reality.

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Candice Camden with Camden Realty and property management said, "there are no vacancies what so ever. It was already bad before the fire started."

Vallejo is only 11 miles from Napa and it's a logical place people might look for new apartments or homes. But there is little housing stock now and it's about to get worse.

Theautis Persons, a broker and manager with Remax Gold said, "It's off the charts. So I don't think we've ever seen this amount of displacement with so little inventory to absorb this displacement. "

The shortage of housing and the cost are about to become a bigger long-term problem.

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For instance a house that burned to the ground three years ago in Benicia is still not completely rebuilt and livable. The problem is a severe shortage of architects, contractors and skilled labor.

Property experts say many insurance companies will only put people up for two years in a comparable rental so they expect rents to skyrocket even more predicting 10 percent right off the bat.

And those who are trying to buy or sell property in or near fire zones will find many transactions are frozen. Thousands of escrows are in jeopardy. Realtors say many lenders have placed a moratorium basically halting all funding on loans until they can identify if that property is directly affected by the fire.

It's the same theme all across Solano County and other neighboring regions -- a housing crisis of epic proportions is on the horizon.

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