APRIL 15TH, 2024

California Mortgages

The housing market in the state of California is a difficult one to generalize about, as there are several disparate housing markets within the state and even within the larger cities like Los Angeles. Even so, the US census bureau statistics give a broad overview of the generalities that do exist among those markets. The 2002 US census shows that there were 12,507,767 housing units in California. California has traditionally been more renter oriented than other states, and this trend continues. The home ownership in California in 2000 was 56.9%, compared to the national average of 66.2%. This is often explained by the high cost of home ownership in California. The median value of an owner occupied home in California in 2000 was $211,500, which is nearly double the national average median home price of $119,600. Although the sources and estimates are less concrete than the census, realtors in California have estimated that the current median value of a home is around $551,300. The average household income in California is higher than the national average, at $47,493 compared to the national average income of $41,994.

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As prices continue to rise unaffected by sales slips, Californians are backing away from adjustable rate mortgages and lenders are making it more difficult to qualify for home loans.

In February of 2006, an estimated 51.9 percent of all California home buyers financed their purchases with an adjustable rate mortgage, which is down from 63.7 percent in January, 68.7 percent in December and 70.9 percent in November.

The use of adjustable rate mortgages, generally considered easier to get because of initially lower monthly mortgage payments, are also considered to be an indication that buyers are stretching finances.

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Use of adjustable rate mortgages in California peaked in May last year at 73.7 percent. Resulting from increased lender scrutiny, mortgage risk of default has declined by 22.7 percent in the past year. In the meantime, homes have continued their upward march, rising 13.7 percent from a year ago to an estimated median value of $535,470 in February.

On the other hand, the stated Feb. price was a decrease from a month previous, when in January this year the median hit a daunting $551,300 in California.

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