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Owner Occupied Homes at Record Low

Last Updated 4/15/2018
High prices have forced a growing percentage of families to postpone buying a house. California now has a record-low homeownership rate, and foreign buyers and investors are the likely driving force of higher prices. In 2006, about 10 percent of single-family homes were purchased in cash. During the recession 33 percent were purchased with all cash. Current estimates by ATTOM Data Solutions put the current all cash home purchases at 25 percent. For the first time in a decade however, we are seeing a decline in all cash investment purchases. Why has there been a decline of investment purchases? California no longer has an excess of properties sold cheap in foreclosures. Areas such as Sacramento, San Bernardino and Rialto had the most properties sold for all cash during the past decade, while investors largely stayed away from higher priced coastal areas. Many wealthy foreigners became involved in housing development and are holders of EB-5 visas — a U.S. program granting green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. business. There are not enough homes available for current demand because many were gobbled up by investors during the recession. The number of owner occupied homes has dropped dramatically in the past ten years, while the number of single family home rentals has risen. Proposed laws to help owner occupied homebuyers have stalled, including transparency on investor activity. A bill that would have forced homeowners to wait 90 days before selling to investors failed to clear both California chambers. Last year, a bill that would have required investors with more than 100 properties to register with the state also failed.