Warning Orange County: Inland Empire catching up in livability!


Warning Orange County: Inland Empire catching up in livability!

Is the Inland Empire shedding its cheap-living image and getting ready to compete with its coastal brethren in terms of livability?

Gallup’s annual “well-being” rankings for the nation’s metropolitan areas are out and there’s a shrinking gap in the perception of lifestyle quality between Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire.

L.A.-O.C. came in 53rd out of 189 metros this year – sandwiched in the rankings between Houston and Charlotte. That’s not bad company, but it’s down from No. 40 a year ago.

The Inland Empire came in at 73rd, between Nashville and Boise. What’s more noteworthy is the new ranking is up from 93rd for the previous year.

So, the perception gap between Southern California’s coastal counties and the Inland neighbors – 53 ranking spots for 2015 –has been sliced by more than half to 20 in 2016.

Why do blue states rank better than red in livability?

Gallup’s livability ranking is more touchy-feely than other quality-of-city scorecards. This “well-being index” is based on the firm’s constant polling of American adults’ feelings on five regional attributes: the sense of daily purpose; the social climate; financial opportunities; community pride; and local health.

I like this poll’s logic as its results have a discerning eye for what’s good and bad about California living.

In 2016, California had seven metros in the top 25 – Santa Cruz (third); San Luis Obispo (seventh); Santa Barbara (12th); Santa Rosa (17th); Salinas (19th); San Diego (22nd); and Visalia (25th) – and three in the bottom 25 – Chico (183rd); Bakersfield (172nd) and Stockton (166th).

It’s worth a moment to see what Gallup’s measurement of well-being says about gap between L.A.-O.C. and the Inland Empire.

On this national scale, both regions have relatively good rankings for a local sense of purpose and roughly equal mid-range scores for financial considerations.

L.A.-O.C.’s No. 18 ranking for healthy lifestyle may have beaten the Inland Empire, but a 43rd place finish is very respectable. Conversely, both regions scored poorly for sense of community.

The most noteworthy gap was in terms of social qualities that Gallup defined as “having supportive relationships and love in your life.” L.A.-O.C. won this ranking battle easily, 73rd to 134th. Perhaps the Inland Empire suffering from being a place where people move but consequently have fewer family ties.

The Inland Empire used to be just about cheap housing and a tough commute toward coastal jobs centers. With Riverside and San Bernardino now growing their own employment base, Gallup results show the livability gap is decidedly narrowing.

Perhaps some day soon, the “909” will be an equal brand.

$568K House Vs. $10 Million House

A little Buzzfeed video I thought was fun for all you buyers out there.


And if you can buy in the Inland Empire you will get more bang for your buck! 😉

Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities


Apartments With Tiny Layout Nail Why Rental Prices Are Out of Control

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Apartments With Tiny Layout Nail Why Rental Prices Are Out of Control

This Photo Shows a Shower in Kitchen in San Francisco


From @Brockkeeling

<img src=”http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=20056848&cv=2.0&cj=1″><img alt=”” height=”1″ src=”https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=MWswl1agWBr152″ style=”display:none” width=”1″> <img height=”1″ width=”1″ style=”display:none” src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=843499249100411&ev=PageView&noscript=1″>

San Francisco holds the honor of being the most expensive city in the U.S. to rent a one-bedroom apartment with the cost at almost $3,600 per month, according to Time.

An apartment listing in the city perfectly illustrates the absurd lengths property owners are going to in order to squeeze as much money as they can out of their holdings – and the tiny amount of space renters are finding available for vast sums of money.

The picture, of a tiny apartment with a full shower and toilet in its kitchen, was one of four posted on the rental site Nextdoor, enticing renters to live in a “newly renovated tiny studio apartment” with “easy parking” and “quiet” available for $2,000 per month. The listing doesn’t mention the unit’s size, but Sfist, who first posted it, believes it’s around 200 square feet – and was likely converted from a large storage closet.

Since access to Nextdoor is limited by neighborhood, it was difficult for media outlets to confirm the veracity of the photo but Reddit users on a thread about the kitchen/bathroom combo narrowed its location down to the intersection of Laurel and Pacific in the Presidio Heights neighborhood.

 kramer sienfeld shower phone GIF

Needless to say, the arrangement is not sanitary. “Fecal plumes could be a problem,” as Elizabeth Lopatto, science editor at The Verge, put it to Curbed SF. It’s also a violation of San Francisco’s building codes.

Shockingly (or not), the San Francisco toilet-in-kitchen is not unique. There’s at least one Sydney, Australia, studio features a toilet just inches away from the kitchen sink. There are a number of small New York City apartments with a bathtub in the kitchen, a leftover from an era where tenement owners didn’t want to install two sets of hot water pipes.

Bathtub in KitchenHUffington Post

But it’s not just pricey coastal enclaves that face skyrocketing rents as real estate website Curbed described it as a cycle that’s playing out across the country. As noted on rental apartment site Street Easy, a kitchen in bathroom combo one year ago in the trendy New York City East Village neighborhood was listed for $1,900 per month.

Street Easy New York City Apartment Street Easy

It noted how the scarcity of homes drives up housing prices, which forces people to rent, which drives up rental prices, too. Rent is now the highest-rising expense in almost every major U.S. city, according to CNBC.

It starts with a near standstill on the construction of new starter homes, caused by what developers see as an avalanche of new regulations, requirements, fees, building codes and permits.

<a href=’http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/16/rents-now-top-list-of-fastest-rising-prices.html’><img alt=’Dashboard 1 ‘ src=’http://public.tableau.com/static/images/RE/RENTSRisingRents/Dashboard1/1_rss.png’ style=’border: none’ /></a>

“[T]he last decade has seen nine million Americans become new renters, the largest 10-year gain in history, pushing the percentage of households that rent from 31 to 37 percent, the highest level since the Johnson administration. That’s all happening at the same time the country is losing roughly 125,000 affordable rental units a year,” according to Curbed.

Beyond that, those who already own homes are finding it harder and harder to move up in the market. “The number of starter homes on the market dropped by 44 percent,” according to CNBC.

Mayors around the country are trying to find solutions to the affordable housing crunch, including tax credits for redevelopment, new policies to ensure more low-and mixed-income housing, and easing regulations, as Curbed reports.

 shower GIF

But the crisis is getting virtually no attention at the federal level. In fact, the Trump administration’s budget draft slashes funding for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), home ownership programs, and neighborhood development.

Lastly, there’s been no word on whether the “apartment” with the kitchen/bathroom combo in San Francisco was rented or other apartments with similar layouts in other parts of the country. .

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices – WSJ

Home Sales Slide on Tight Supply, Higher Prices

Laura Kusisto
The Wall Street Journal

Existing home sales declined in February as tight inventory and rising prices frustrated would-be buyers and damped sales activity heading into the critical spring selling season.

Purchases of previously owned homes, which account for the vast majority of U.S. sales, decreased 3.7% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million last month, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

The decline followed a strong performance in January, when sales rose 3.3%. February’s sale pace was 5.4% above the same month a year earlier.

Economists said the combination of rising prices and mortgage rates is expected to push some buyers out of the market this year, especially in expensive coastal markets where first-time purchasers are already stretching to afford homes.

“You either have to believe that we’re in a bubble right now or you have to believe that sales are going to decline,” said Todd Tomalak, vice president of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, said the company has seen a slight decline in the number of buyers touring properties and making offers—indicating they are frustrated by a lack of homes for sale.

“Inventory may be having a bigger effect on sales [this year] than last year,” Ms. Richardson said. “It’s just there’s not a lot for sale.”

Inventory increased 4.2% at the end of February from a month earlier, after December’s reading was the lowest since the Realtors association began tracking all types of supply in 1999. Inventory in February was still down 6.4% from a year earlier. At the current sales pace, it would take 3.8 months to exhaust the supply of existing homes on the market, the Realtors said Wednesday. Economists say the typical supply is roughly six months.

“We just don’t have enough inventory to satisfy all the buying interest,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Low inventory is also helping to push up prices. The median sale price rose 7.7% in February from a year earlier, to $228,400. Experts said rapid price increases are creating concerns about affordability.

“I would be happier if it was not as frothy,” said Greg Rand, founder and chief executive of OwnAmerica, a broker for investors in single-family rental properties.

Economists said the rise in mortgage rates that began in December may have caused some buyers to rush into the market to lock in lower rates, pushing forward some demand. Rates for a 30-year mortgage rose to 4.3% last week, the highest level this year, according to mortgage company Freddie Mac.

New home construction is starting to pick up, which could relieve some of the inventory crunch in the coming months. U.S. single-family housing starts in February hit their highest level since the recession, boosted by warm weather and a strong economy.

Tony Robbins’ 4 rules for investing


Want to rent a house? It’ll cost you $3,114 a month in Orange County


Want to rent a house? It’ll cost you $3,114 a month in Orange County

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This Santa Ana house, featured on Zillow, rents for $3,100 a month. House rents are rising faster than apartment rents in Southern California, according to HomeUnion.

For years, Southern California apartment rents have been soaring.

Now, a new report shows that rents have been rising even faster for houses, which are preferred by families and others seeking a bit more living space.

House rents averaged $3,114 a month in Orange County during the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Irvine-based HomeUnion, a firm that helps investors buy and rent out houses in about a dozen markets across the nation.

That’s up 22 percent, or $561 a month, over the past four years, vs. a 13 percent increase for apartment rents during the same period, figures from Reis Inc. show.

Los Angeles County’s average rent of $2,548 a month last quarter was up 22.1 percent over the past four years, compared with a 21.7 percent gain in apartment rents over the same period. In the Inland Empire, house rents increased 23 percent to $1,729 a month, vs. a 17 percent increase for apartments in the same four-year period.

Low vacancy was a key reason, spurred by a building slowdown during the recession followed by a hiring boom during the recovery, said Steve Hovland, HomeUnion’s director of research and communications.

During the fourth quarter, vacancy rates for investor-owned rental houses ranged from 3 percent in Orange County to 3.1 percent in Los Angeles County and 5.8 percent in the Inland Empire.

That’s comparable to apartment vacancies. But historically, rental house vacancies tend to be higher, Hovland said.

“What this shows is the single-family rental market is even tighter than the apartment market,” Hovland said. “ … You have to pay more rent (for a house), and they’re hard to find, even when you pay more rent.”

By comparison, the national average rent for a house was $1,817 a month in the last quarter of 2016, up 17 percent over the past four years, HomeUnion reported. The national vacancy rate was 6.7 percent.

Another reason the market is so tight: There are more renters in the region and fewer homeowners.

Southern California had almost 280,000 more rental households in 2015 than in 2009, a 12 percent jump, U.S. Census figures show. But the number of homeowners fell by almost 80,000, or 3 percent.

And because there’s twice as many apartments under construction than houses, single-family rentals are getting scarcer.

“There’s pent-up household demand out there,” Hovland said. “(Families are) going to have to be patient. … They’re going to have to go further out or get apartments.”

Rental houses vs. apartments

Area House rent/mo. Apt. rent/mo. House 4-yr ch Apt. 4-yr ch House vacancies Apt. vacancies
Orange $3,114 $1,799 22.0% 12.8% 3.0 3.2%
Los Angeles $2,548 $1,775 22.1% 21.7% 3.1 3.3%
Inland Empire $1,729 $1,262 22.5% 16.6% 5.8 2.4%
U.S. $1,817 $1,304 17.0% 18.7% 6.7 4.1%

Sources: HomeUnion, Reis Inc.