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Thanks for a balanced post. As others have pointed out, it is all about location.
My wife and I moved to Stockton about a year ago from the southeast. Wanted to be closer to family in the Bay Area and this was one affordable area not too far from there. I had seen depressing posts about Stockton before my move but decided to go ahead.
Like all other cities of comparable size, Stockton has it good and not so good aspects. It has its ghettos and its posh neighborhoods. Population wise, there may be higher per capita crime rate but that also has to do with the overall economy. People are the same no matter where we live, some very nice and some better if avoided.
The city has been poorly managed over the past few decades and it is coming back to haunt it now. We have lived in quite a few states but California overall is highly messed up with too many regulations/mandates without resources to back them up. It is not a business friendly state. If I have to point to one cause, it is unreasonable unions and politicians who sit in their laps.
Stockton is not Palo Alto so I won't compare the social life between the two. It is laid back like any other farming community. We have nice neighbors.
I bought a house at what seemed like a good value. It has lost about 10% of its value and then stabilized. I am not too worried. If I live here another five years, I will recoup. If we decide to retire here, we won't regret.
There is a good private university in town. Their business school puts out an economic forecast for the area. You may want to explore it at University of the Pacific Business Forecasting Center
It has nowhere to go but up. There is no room to go any lower.
I'm not finding a lot of difference between my old neighborhood in Hayward and the new one in Stockton. Seems like Stockton is less cookie-cutter housing, but the neighbors are about the same- pretty good. Not perfect, but mostly careful not to do anything too obnoxious.
Liking the house is less about the neighbors than about the house itself. I can drive into the yard. Not a big thing usually, but I've never been able to do that in any of the three previous houses I owned in Hayward. Might be five minutes farther to good shopping, but that's not a really big deal. Seems to be more of a "live and let live" approach to things in Stockton than in Hayward.
If some folks have had issues with gangs or obnoxious neighbors, that might be more because that's how people are everywhere. It helps to have a hundred feet between neighbors instead of a hundred inches. (One of my houses was a condo. <sigh>) Or 200 feet. In Stockton I get serenaded by diesel farm trucks, mostly in the day time. In Hayward, BART used to let me know every 20 minutes that their trains were running, something that didn't bother me much, except they'd start around four AM.
I checked out rmk's link to UOP's economic data. Whew! That's a lot of data. Trouble with such a prodigious effort is that finding cracks in the numbers becomes a herculean task. Thus I accept the data as presented, but with a "grain of salt" disclaimer. I am less optimistic about Stockton's rosy future. I don't think it'll be any worse than it's been. Vallejo and Modesto seem to have worse housing problems. Not surprising that Saratoga and Piedmont seem to be surviving with fewer issues, but that's the glossed-over version.
I'm happy that zillow.com thinks my house is worth a bit more than I paid for it. That's the good part. The bad part is that I've had to re-do everything. Bad carpentry, atrocious paint, dangerous wiring and a tree on top of the septic line were just the beginning. But I enjoy making things better, so a house with lots of work needed is OK with me. (The hardwood floors look really good after refinishing them.)
Not sure what the future holds in Stockton. Might move a bit further out, maybe to Linden or Escalon, but that's still in "murky crystal ball" territory. If I can find a larger yard, big enough to justify owning my own 30-hp tractor, I'd stay in the same area I'm in, east of 99.
BTW, this forum is pretty good. Not a lot of brain-dead, illiterate ranting. No one has to agree with everyone, and separate opinions are respected.
OK not to be rude but your posts are way too myopic. Everything your posting is so specific to your particular experience, it's hard to understand what the point is. Every house in Stockton has 100 ft between it and the next one, or just yours? I know that's not case for the entire city, because I've been to Stockton. Gang problems are everywhere? LOL. Really? C'mon. Stockton has a gang problem and it's well documented, as is the fact that it was hit hardest of any U.S city by the housing crash. It also lays claim to some of the worst air quality in the U.S. You may have found a plat of land and a home somewhere on the outskirts of town, but what does that say about the city of Stockton?
Yep, Stockton has a bad reputation. I've worked in Washington, DC and Miami as well as the Port of Los Angeles. There are bad places everywhere. DC has worn the tarnished crown of "Murder Capital" as has Miami and Compton. There are gangs everywhere. If you don't live in Saratoga or Piedmont, you need to be careful about people around you.
Maybe I got lucky, finding a run-down structure outside the city limits, where my neighbors are homeowners whose habits aren't too disagreeable. But my mailing address says Stockton, and I like the place I live. Myopic? Well, sure. I reckon we're all like that. The aim of my original post was to describe my personal, individual experience in living here. Maybe I did sound a bit Pollyannish in describing my personal experiences and not preceding my comments with a disclaimer like, "In the midst of gang-ridden, crime-infested, Murder Capital Stockton ...."
I like this place. If I hadn't "made the dash," I might have been posting about Hayward's newly-posh downtown, even though Southland seems to be hanging on by its retail fingernails. CSU East Bay provides some advantages, but Stockton has Delta Valley and UoP. Stockton's economics depend on agriculture, something the East Bay regards as a curiosity. (I livee in Cherryland, an appropriate description for the San Leandro/Hayward/San Lorenzo area.) But anyone could point out the crime and gangs in Hayward and be absolutely right.
Like I said, this is a forum with few trolls; the disagreements are posted with dignity and no rancor. BTW, before I got this house, I made an unsuccessful offer on a nice, big Victorian house on Anderson Street. Even though I'm happy here, I might have been equally happy within the Stockton City Limits. Can't know because that offer didn't gel. Manteca was another place I made on offer on, but this one, this pretty rural house, got accepted, so I'm here. .... Take care!!
We lived in Stockton from 1997 to 2010, owned a house in a sort of rural area (Weston Ranch). We retired and moved out of State for 3 years. We moved back to California in 2012, and will be moving to the Manteca or Tracy area soon. I prefer not to live in Stockton because I never liked Stockton when I lived there, but it's like any other medium to large city, lots of crime, gangs, burglaries, and the city went bankrupt in 2012 which didn't help the situation.
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