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Dave Walsh bought his first property in 1980, a modest three-bedroom house in San Jose for $67,500.

Decades later, Walsh has climbed up the property and career ladders. That modest home he used to own is worth $1.2 million, and Walsh now serves as president of the California Association of Realtors.

It’s a pivotal time for his industry.

The median price of a single family home in California climbed to a record $814,000 in April, and the housing shortage and rising prices show little signs of slowing down. Building permits have declined for several years, and construction is growing more expensive.

The market looks unlike anything Walsh has seen in his 41 years as an agent. “This is truly a crisis level,” said Walsh, who will serve as CAR president through December. “How do we ever stop this?”

Walsh has been active in efforts to reform building codes to boost housing development and fair housing policies. Yet challenges persist beyond housing production.

Walsh has also set a goal for the statewide association to push for more fair housing rules to correct past legislative efforts that limited home-buying opportunities for people of color. “California has an issue we need to work with,” he said.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Q: You got your real estate license in 1980. How has the California market changed?

A: I used to believe that I could get anybody a house, because I was good at what I did and I knew the marketplace.

I knew financing well. And I can help people connect with the right type of financing for their particular financial situation. And I knew the marketplaces that were up and coming. And it may not be the perfect neighborhood today. But it was becoming an emerging neighborhood.

Today, quite frankly, I can’t say that same thing. It’s hard to get anybody a house. I feel like the market has shifted so dramatically for buyers.

Q: What’s happened between 1980 and 2021?

A: We stopped building enough housing way back in 2005. From that point on, we have not built anywhere near enough to keep up with the housing demand in California.  And by the way, the last five years, for every consecutive year, we’ve built less each year. So even in the midst of this crisis, we’re still just not building enough housing. What you have is properties’ (prices) escalating so fast, that we just can’t keep up.

That drives drives the middle class out and allows “the haves” to have more and “the have nots” to have less.

Q: What about the argument from slow-growth community members and property owners that the solution is to move jobs away from Silicon Valley and out of California? That’s a pretty strong sentiment in the suburbs.

A: I hear that argument all the time. The (property owners) want to retain their quality of life without any kind of density increases. And their proposed solution is, ‘Let’s just simply put the jobs in Stockton. Let’s put them in Modesto. Let’s put them in the Central Valley. ‘

It’s easy to say that, ‘let’s put the job someplace else,’ and people will go there. Well, maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I’m not worried about (Tesla CEO) Elon Musk leaving California. I’m worried about the next Elon Musk leaving California, whoever that might be.

Q: What response do you get from Sacramento?

A: I have regular conversations with our elected officials at the federal level, as well as the state level, and they all know we have a huge housing crisis.

The housing bills that are going to make it through must contain a component of union labor. Well, union labor adds (cost). And I’m not anti-union, I’m just pro housing. I want us to figure out ways to develop affordable housing. And when you start adding entitlement costs, and union labor costs, and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) litigation costs to any kind of housing, all of a sudden, it’s a fallacy to call it affordable. It’s just not affordable in California anymore.

Q: What is the what are some of the major goals that you have for this year as president of the California Association of Realtors?

A: I have been very singularly focused on fair housing. There’s a great book, (The Color of Law) by Richard Rothstein. I read that book … and that changed my entire focus on housing in California.

We have a huge challenge to help people of color get involved with housing in California. (Earlier generations of Realtors) have not been the biggest supporters of this in the past. We were involved with helping create legislation or at least supporting legislation that made it difficult for people of color to acquire housing. And we supported (what) ultimately ended up being redlining. At the end of the day, we were roadblocks to people of color.

So it’s my goal, and it’s my in my leadership team’s focus this year, to make concrete steps towards improving fair housing opportunities for people of color in the state.Related Articles

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Age: 66

Family: Wife and four children

Hometown: Born in Toronto, raised and went to school in Silicon Valley

Education: Willow Glen High School, attended San Jose State

Employment: Walsh has been a active Realtor for 41 years with several Bay Area real estate companies. He is a vice president at Compass and sales manager of the San Jose office.



1. Walsh is an avid traveler to Europe, enjoying visits to England where he has family. “I could live in London in a heartbeat,” he said.

2. At one time, he held the record for most expensive home sale in Los Gatos, a $12 million mansion.

3. Walsh was born in Toronto. His father moved the family to Sunnyvale in 1959 to take a job as an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor.

4. He sold his first house in San Jose to friends — a young house painter and his wife, an elementary school teacher. A young couple today with similar careers, he said, couldn’t buy a similar house without financial aid from their parents.

5. “I eat, sleep and drink real estate,” he said.


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Oil Prices Surge As Wall Street Pumps Trillions Into Green Energy

Oil prices are projected to surge to $80 per barrel or more this summer as demand comes roaring back, while some investors argue Wall Street’s push to invest trillions in green energy could lead to supply shortages and higher fuel prices.

U.S. crude prices have doubled since last October and hit $71.48 per barrel Monday, the highest level in more than two years, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some investors are using options, which allow the holder to buy or sell an asset at a specific price in the future, to bet on crude prices hitting $100 per barrel by the end of next year.

As the U.S. economy continued to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic this year, crude prices have increased about 40% since January, according to CNBC. A surge in the number of Americans driving again, along with an increase in goods transportation and air travel, could send crude prices up further.

But some of the largest companies and institutional investors are churning out trillions of dollars to finance a shift away from fossil fuels, according to the WSJ. Assets in green energy-focused investment funds reached almost $2 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, and more than $5 billion worth of bonds and loans for green initiatives are issued every day.

Oil-storage tanks are seen from above in Carson, California on April 25, 2020 (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Experts said the drop in fossil fuel financing meant energy companies could struggle to meet the rising demand for oil. Research firm Wood Mackenzie found that spending on oil extraction plummeted last year to about $330 billion, according to the WSJ.

JPMorgan Chase analyst Christyan Malek further noted that planned investment in the global oil supply is about $600 billion short of what is needed to meet the projected demand by 2030.

“It’s just hard to see where the capital is going to come from to grow at a rate that will be needed from 2022,” David Meaney, founding principal of Assert Capital Management LP, told the WSJ.

Energy companies have similarly trimmed their fossil fuel assets by tens of billions of dollars as the sector struggles to rebound from pandemic-era setbacks and growing environmental pressure. Shell, among the world’s largest oil companies, plans to accelerate efforts to cut carbon emissions following a landmark court ruling in the Netherlands. (RELATED: Financial Regulators Want To Stop Climate Change. Here’s What Might Happen)

A changing regulatory environment could also shape the oil industry’s trajectory as many governments around the world are implementing greater measures to address climate change. President Joe Biden has proposed around $2 trillion in climate spending and his administration has called for a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions.

Leigh Goehring, a managing partner at the commodities-focused investment firm Goehring & Rozencwajg Associates, warned that oil consumption could exceed production for the first time ever.

“This is the basis for the next oil crisis,” he told the WSJ. “We’re in uncharted territory.”

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