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JTF HousingJTF

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JTF HousingJTF

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As of August 2008, the median price of a home sold in California dropped to $301,000, a decline of  35.3% from $465,000 in August 2007.  The decline reflects a change in the mix of homes sold – with  an increase in lower‐end homes, including foreclosed homes – as well as price depreciation.  The  median sales price has now declined to a level not seen since 2003.  In August 2008, the number of  home sales was 13.6% higher than in August 2007 – but still below the historical average for  August.  ƒ CALIFORNIANS SPEND A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THEIR INCOME ON HOUSING. In 2007, 53% of households in California – a higher percentage than in any other state – spent more  than 30% of their income on housing costs.  The 30% threshold, recommended by the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development, is widely used as an affordability measure.  The  housing cost burden was especially severe for renters, the poor, and new homeowners (those who  had purchased their homes within the previous two years):  52% of renter households, 85% of  households with incomes below $35,000, and 65% of new homeowners in the state exceeded the  30% threshold in 2007.  ƒ AFTER RISING FOR MANY YEARS, HOMEOWNERSHIP RATES ARE NOW FALLING. Homeownership rates in California rose from 55% in 1996 to 60% in 2005, with rates increasing the  most among young adults 25 to 34 years old.  Low interest rates, creative financing, and buying in  less expensive inland areas of the state were important strategies used by new homeowners earlier  in this decade; but with the collapse of the housing market, homeownership rates declined in 2006  and 2007.  With foreclosure activity at record levels and financing with adjustable‐rate mortgages  recently near an all‐time low, the downward trend in homeownership rates is likely to continue.  ƒ HOMEOWNERSHIP IS AN ELUSIVE DREAM FOR MANY. Over the past twenty years, California’s homeownership rate has remained consistently about 11  percentage points lower than the nation’s (for example, 58% vs. 70% in 2007), with the gap wider  still among younger householders and among racial/ethnic groups.  For example, homeownership  rates in 2007 among African Americans and Latinos were 40% and 48%, respectively, compared to  65% among non‐Hispanic whites.  ƒ HOUSING PRODUCTION HAS FALLEN SHARPLY. After plummeting during the recession of the early 1990s, new residential construction in  California steadily increased between 1995 and 2004.  However, construction rates remained  relatively low during the 1990s compared to previous decades, as demographic and economic  shifts translated into less demand – shifts such as lower population growth rates among the age  groups most likely to form new households.  The number of building permits authorized in  California peaked in 2004, then dropped slightly in 2005 and, since then, has fallen precipitously.   In 2007, the level of construction in the state was only half that of 2004.  Percentage Percentage Homeownership Rates, 1990-2007 75 Rest of U.S. 70 California 65 60 55 50 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 90 80 70 60 50 40 Percentage 30 20 10 0 Homeownership Rates by Age Rest of U.S. California 18-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 Age group 55-59 60-64 65-69 70+ Building Permits Issued in California, 1980-2007 180 160 Single-family units 140 Multifamily units 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 Building permits Sources: March Current Population Surveys. 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