Ever wonder why it costs so much to live in Orange County? No, it isn’t just the beautiful weather and the perpetual season of “warm.” The gorgeous beaches aren’t even solely to blame.
Our poverty rate looks great on the surface (15% which is just above the national average), but look a little closer and you will see that California has an embarrassing secret; many of us are house-poor. The Census Bureau is now analyzing a new measure of wealth. This new measure incorporates the true cost of living against median income and the results are shocking. Almost 21% of the state lives in poverty (8 million residents), which is the highest individual state poverty level.
Why is housing so expensive? New construction and development is expensive:
-The cost of new construction and labor is higher here.
-Excessive environmental regulations and associated costs.
-Development and zoning fees (city and county) are higher than the average (more than 3.5 times the national rate in red tape costs!).
Additionally, desirability really is a factor, just not the only one.
So what is the answer? Data analysts at Zillow make a calculator to show you if it is cheaper to rent or own in your area. Most areas that I looked at (Southern Orange County) showed that owning was more expensive for about 3.5 years but then steadily broke away and it was a vastly better deal to buy a home than to rent in the same area.
Think about where are you now and where you will be in 3-4 years. Let’s get started on that good deal!
Check your area here.
Want to read more from the OC Register about housing policies, read the full article here.