HOLLISTER, Calif. (KTVU) - The Bay Area's housing crisis isn't just affecting people living in the immediate area. One community just south of the Bay Area is experiencing some growing pains as people seek more affordable housing in Hollister.
"A 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath, right around 2,000 square foot home is going to be in the $600,000 range, where if you're looking at the same home in Santa Clara County you're looking at $1 million and up," said Tony Lo Bue, President of the San Benito County Association of Realtors.
Hollister is 45 miles south of San Jose, long a sleepy farming community. But according to the Sacramento Bee, Hollister is now the ninth fastest growing city in California, with about 40,000 residents and a 2.7% growth rate.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez says Hollister has been adding roughly 500 new homes every year for the past four years.
"It has exploded and it's putting a strain on our infrastructure," said Mayor Velazquez. "Much more traffic, our schools are being impacted, a lot of negatives happening right now."
Cheaper housing is a clear draw to Hollister, where $650,000 will get a new home. But the Mayor says those coming from Silicon Valley are having to deal with a problem that they in-part helped create.
"Everybody is driving to Silicon Valley. It's too expensive over there. They want to come over here where they can own a single family home. It's just creating a problem for us," said Velazquez.
Residents say commute times have more than doubled.
"Now sometimes it takes sometime two hours, three hours depending on the traffic now," said resident Helen Reyes.
"Do we have a lot of growth? We need more," said Lo Bue.
The head of the San Benito County Association of Realtors says that growth is needed to attract new businesses and more sales tax revenue to fix roads.
"We're just at that fine line where we're too big to be a small town and too small to be a big city. So we're trying to get those stores that will generate that sales tax revenue," said Lo Bue.
The city is working to expand Highway 25, the main artery into town.
The Mayor wants "smarter, slower growth" and hopes Hollister can keep its own identity.
"If we're looking to become a big suburb of San Jose, that's not really a good place to be," said Velazquez.