The “Looking Glass” ponders economic and real estate trends through two distinct lenses: the optimist’s “glass half-full” and the pessimist’s “glass half-empty.”
Buzz: Homeownership soared in the Inland Empire to start 2022, but it hit rock bottom in Los Angeles and Orange counties and was fairly stagnant everywhere else.
Source: My trusty spreadsheet looked at homeownership data from the U.S. Census for the first quarter for 75 big metropolitan areas and the states.
Debate: How much has the pandemic’s buying binge been powered by folks looking for a place of their own, and how much of the feeding frenzy is driven by investors — whether they’re seeking long-term income or flippers seeking quick riches. Homeownership swings offer one clue.
In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, 68.8% of households lived in a residence they owned in 2022’s first three months, ranking No. 18 among the 75 metros tracked.
Now, let’s ponder how that rate sits historically, looking at the census database dating to 2005.
The I.E.’s homeownership rate is up from 62.2% in 2021’s fourth quarter when it ranked 23rd from the bottom.
It’s the region’s highest ownership level since 2006’s fourth quarter, and its highest rank over these 17 years.
By the way, Inland Empire ownership has averaged 63% since 2005.
A homeownership surge was not a typical start to 2022.
In Los Angeles and Orange counties, 45.2% of households lived in a residence they owned, putting the region in last place among the 75 metros. That rate is also down from 47.8% in the fourth quarter when the metro ranked 74th.
L.A.-O.C. has ranked last for homeownership in 16 of the last 28 quarters.
Statewide ownership was 54.2%, next to last in the U.S. ahead of only the District of Columbia. It was down one tick from 54.3% in the previous three months, when California homeownership was third-worst.
And it’s even below the state’s ugly norm: Since 2005, 56% of Californians have lived in a residence they own.
Nationally, homeownership dipped, too, to 65.4% vs. 65.5% at the end of 2021. U.S. ownership has averaged 66% since 2005.
The homebuying pace of the past year was the best since 2005 in the Inland Empire and L.A.-O.C.
Considering the differing moves in ownership levels, one wonders how many investors were active in L.A.-O.C.
And an oddity about the Inland Empire’s ownership surge and the nine other metros the nation’s largest ownership increases at the start of 2022.
This list included secondary markets in New York and Ohio (Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Toledo and Akron), small boom towns (Tucson, Greensboro, N.C. and Columbia, S.C.) — and Sacramento.
At least owning your place outside the big city seems to be hip.
How did California’s economic arch-rivals fares?
Texas homeownership started 2022 at 62.8% (ninth-lowest among the states), down from 63.9% in the fourth quarter (same ranking).
Florida ownership rose to 67.3% (No. 31) from 66.5% (No. 33) at 2021’s end.
Highest ownership? Among the metros, Charleston, S.C. at 80.9%. Top state was West Virginia at 79.6%.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com
Source: Orange County Register