Short-term rentals and high-end buyers are wiping out affordable housing in Joshua Tree, residents say

Michel Cicero has barely taken a day off since July 7, 2020. That day she was paddleboarding in Big Bear Lake with friends but had to leave early because her phone was ringing off the hook, she said. . “It hasn’t stopped since.”

Cicero is a real estate agent in Landers, Calif. Who borders the community of Joshua Tree, adjacent to the national park. She has seen firsthand the disruption the pandemic has created in the real estate market. The length of its sales season has doubled. In an area where single-family home sales were the norm, several buyers began to bid, often in cash, on each sale, raising prices and severely draining the housing stock.

“Traditionally, in the spring we have about 80 homes for sale in Joshua Tree. Earlier this spring we only had 19, ”she said.

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