Categoria: Housing data

California Homeownership Hits 11-Year High But Still Nation’s 3rd Lowest

”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best seen as a mix of artful interpretation and data.

Buzz: The share of Californians living in their own home hit an 11-year high last year but the state’s homeownership rate is third-worst in the nation.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet analyzed state homeownership stats from the Census Bureau, looking at 2022’s average rate vs. the pre-pandemic 2010-19 average.

Topline California’s 55.3% average homeownership rate in 2022 was the state’s best since 2011 – but only Washington, D.C., at 42% and New York at 54% were lower.

The highest ownership rates in 2022 were found in West Virginia at 79%, then Wyoming at 75%, Minnesota at 75%, Maine at 75% and Delaware at 75%.

And what of California’s economic rivals? Texas was No. 45 at 64%, while Florida was No. 31 at 67%.

Details The pandemic era’s low mortgage rates and increased urges for larger living spaces elevated ownership rates in many places

Look at California’s rate. It rose 0.6 percentage points vs. the pre-coronavirus 2010-19 average of 54.7%. That was the 16th-smallest rise nationally.

The biggest jump was seen in Rhode Island which rose 5.1 points to 65.9% vs. 60.8%. Then came Wyoming (up 4.3 points – 75.2% vs. 70.9%), Maryland (up 4.2 points – 71.9% vs. 67.6%), Iowa (up 3.9 points – 73.8% vs. 69.9%) and Nevada (up 3.9 points – 60.3% vs. 56.4%).

Let’s also note that 10 states saw falling homeownership.

The largest drops were in Connecticut (down 2.4 points – 64.8% vs. 67.2%), Massachusetts (down 1.6 points – 61.2% vs. 62.8%), Ohio (down 1.6 points – 66% vs. 67.6%), New Jersey (down 0.8 points – 64.2% vs. 65%) and North Carolina (down 0.7 points – 65.9% vs. 66.6%).

Texas ownership grew 0.6 points – 63.6% vs. 63%, 34th best, while Florida increased 1.2 points – 67.3% vs. 66.1%, No. 25.

Bottom line Boosting homeownership is a complex issue, but in some ways, it’s simple and mostly tied to prices.

Look what we see when my spreadsheet sliced the states into thirds based on their homeownership ranking.

The 17 states with the highest ownership averaged 73.7% in 2022. That rate was up 1.9 percentage points vs. 2010-19. And the average home values in these states, using Zillow data, ran $287,400.

The 17 states with the lowest ownership averaged 61.7% last year, up 0.8 points vs. 2010-19. Homes there cost $437,500.

So, in the places where homes cost one-third less, homeownership runs one-fifth higher.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

Jonathan Lansner | Business columnist Jonathan Lansner has been the Orange County Register’s business columnist since 1997 and has been part of the newspaper’s coverage of the local business scene since 1986. He is a past national president of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a 1979 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

LA, Orange County Home Sales Crash 43% To Record Low

Homebuying’s crash in Los Angeles and Orange counties pushed sales down 43% in a year to the slowest January on record.

Home purchases totaled 4,388 in the two counties —  down 3,293 from January 2022, according to data from CoreLogic.

So, just how slow was it?

It was the worst January for sales in records dating to 1988. It was the smallest sales total for any month in CoreLogic’s database. The percentage sales drop ranked No. 2 largest over 35 years. Sales were 48% below the average January pace since 1988. Across the six-county Southern California region, sales also fell to an all-time low. Economic skittishness, especially soaring inflation, plus pricier home loans have frozen the housing market. Surging mortgage rates cut buying power by 28% in a year, making Southern California’s high home prices even more unaffordable.

Across the six-county Southern California region in the past year, sales fell 43% to 9,938 as the median sales price fell 0.1% to $670,000.

How cold? Let’s look at where the L.A.-O.C. cooldown was most intense, starting with January sales.

Los Angeles County had 3,097 closings, down 22% in a month and 44% lower in a year. Orange County had 1,291 sales – down 28% in a month and 41% lower in a year.

Next, consider how prices moved.

In Los Angeles County, the $763,000 median was down 1.5% in a month and 3% lower in a year. It’s also 12% off the $865,000 record high set in April 2022.

READ MORE: California home-price drops bigger than U.S. declines

Orange County’s $950,000 median was up 1.7% in a month and flat in a year. It’s also 10% off the $1,054,000 peak of May 2022.

Payment pain Pricier financing is clearly a culprit: The 30-year mortgage averaged 6.3% in January vs. 3.5% 12 months earlier.

My trusty spreadsheet tells me Los Angeles County buyers got an estimated house payment that’s 34% pricier – $3,766 per month on the $763,000 median vs. $2,806 on a year ago’s $786,000 home. And that assumes having $152,600 for a 20% downpayment.

In Orange County, buyers got a 38% bigger payment – $4,689 monthly on the $950,000 median vs. $3,392 on a year ago’s $950,000 home. The downpayment was $190,000 or 20%.

Single-family homes Sales: Los Angeles County’s 2,264 transactions were down 19% in a month and 40% lower in a year. Orange County’s 828 closings were down 19% in a month and 39% lower in a year.

Prices: Los Angeles County’s $800,000 median was down 4% in a month and 5% lower in a year. Orange County’s $1.1 million median was up 7% in a month and flat in a year.

Condos Sales: Los Angeles County had 658 sold —  down 26% in a month and 52% lower in a year. Orange County had 353 sold —  down 29% in a month and 49% lower in a year.

Prices: Los Angeles County’s $625,000 median was up 1% in a month and 3% lower in a year. Orange County’s $635,000 median was down 12% in a month and 9% lower in a year.

New homes Sales: Los Angeles County builder sold 122 units —  down 46% in a month and 49% lower in a year. Orange County had 110 new residences sold —  down 58% in a month and 11% lower in a year.

Prices: Los Angeles County’s $895,500 new-home median was down 3% in a month and 2% higher in a year. Orange County’s $1.28 million median was up 26% in a month and 1% higher in a year.

Builder share: In Los Angeles County, new homes were 3.9% of all closings last month compared to 4.4% 12 months earlier. Orange County’s 8.5% share last month compares to 5.6% 12 months earlier.

Note: January’s total sales include 53 closings where the type of home sold could not be determined by CoreLogic vs. 76 the previous month and 104 a year earlier.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

90% Of U.S. Housing Markets Had Price Drops In 2nd Half

In a homebuying world that’s become unaffordable for many Americans – no less most Californians – it’s good news for house hunters when home prices decline.

Now, most merchants facing sinking demand for their goods would drop prices and brag about the discounts. Curiously, that price-cutting logic seldom applies to home sales.

Ponder the second half of home pricing in the last six months of 2022 where 90% of 186 U.S. housing markets had price drops, according to my trusty spreadsheet’s review of stats from the National Association of Realtors. It was a swift turnabout from the first half of 2022 when just 1% of markets had price dips.

In the second half of the year, the national median sales price was off 8.2%, dropping to $379,000. The worst performance nationwide was a 21.9% drop in the formerly red-hot market of Austin, Texas. San Francisco was next (down 20.6%), then Boulder, Colo. (off 18.6%), San Jose (down 17%) and Spokane, Wash., (off 15%).

In fact, 13% of these 186 markets had double-digit price drops. Think of the folks who bought early in 2022 in these markets. They’ve lost significant equity in their new home.

Now if you forgot, the pandemic era’s homebuying spree abruptly ended in the middle of 2022 after the Federal Reserve ended its cheap-money policies and hiked mortgage rates.

That ballooned the monthly payment for a typical U.S. buyer by 58% in a year, by the association’s math. So homebuying became unaffordable for a growing swath of the house-hunting crowd.

Plus, life’s return to conditions somewhat near pre-pandemic circumstances – back to offices and classrooms, for example – further thinned demand.

As a result, one-third fewer homes were bought nationwide last year vs. 2021. Obviously, less buying meant discounting was in order.

But the home sales industry is often shy about discussing price cuts. That’s too bad.

More widespread admissions that prices are down would likely increase demand from folks who think ownership dreams are hopeless. Also, an increased acknowledgment of recent depreciation might get potential sellers to be more realistic about pricing their sought-after homes.

Sadly, I fear, too much emphasis is put on ownership’s investment potential. So, talking up price cuts might scare away folks looking at a home’s wealth-creation prospects.

Still, even after serious discounting late in 2022, the U.S. median selling price is still up 42% from pre-pandemic 2019.

Year-end downer Consider the rapid change in the housing market.

The 8.2% price drop nationwide in the second half compared to a 13.3% gain in 2022’s first six months – or a 21.5 percentage-point downward reversal. Note that 97% of the 186 markets had some sort of pricing slippage.

Austin was the market with the harshest chill: a head-spinning 48.2-points downswing from a 26.3% first-half gain to price cuts of 21.9% in the second half.

Next was Boulder which swung 39.1 points – from a 20.4% gain to an 18.6% loss. San Francisco swung 39 points – from up 18.3% to down 20.6%. Ann Arbor, Mich. swung 35.8 points, from up 22.6% to down 13.2%. And Salt Lake City swung 32.9 points, from up 19.6% to off 13.3%.

The national association’s latest analysis focused on the deceleration in price appreciation during the full year.

Yes, the association noted 11% of the 186 markets had price losses between the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022. But NAR highlighted a 4% gain in the U.S. median price over the year – a cooling from the 8.6% appreciation rate of 2022’s third quarter.

“A slowdown in home prices is underway and welcomed,” said NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun.

This is more than a slowdown.

California dreaming The downward pricing trend also was favorable for folks dreaming of homeownership in the Golden State.

The statewide median dropped 10% to $775,000 from June to December as the sales pace slowed by 30%.

However, Jordan Levine, chief economist of the California Association of Realtors, oddly said in a report that “home prices are holding up relatively well, despite rising interest rates and falling housing demand in recent months.”

Could you imagine a merchant from any other industry, faced with tumbling sales, putting a positive spin on their product’s relatively firm pricing?

Remember, San Francisco had the nation’s second-largest downswing in price performance in the second half. Look at other California markets in the national report …

San Jose: 30.4-point downward swing in six months from a 13.4% first-half gain to a 17% second-half loss.

Orange County: 25.9-point downswing from 13% gain to 12.9% loss.

San Diego: 25.6-point downswing from 14.3% gain to 11.3% loss.

Sacramento: 23-point downswing from 10.7% gain to 12.3% loss.

Inland Empire: 18.1-point downswing from 10.4% gain to 7.7% loss.

Fresno: 15.6-point downswing from 9.5% gain to 6% loss.

However, pricing in Los Angeles County says a lot about the state of the housing market as 2022 ended.

LA saw a 2.1-point improvement in six months – yes, an improvement – going from a 1.7% first-half loss to a 0.4% second gain.

Yes, that’s essentially flat. And yet it was the nation’s second-best performance since June.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at