California millennials face limited home-buying options

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. Courtesy photo.

California’s millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2004,  faces unprecedented economic challenges and diminished prospects of owning a home, not the least because of an unfortunate fact — housing prices here are 230 percent above the national average.

That was a key conclusion of a white paper presented by Joel Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange.

Kotkin detailed the report’s conclusions at a recent California Association of Realtors Center for California Real Estate event in Sacramento, hosted by Joel Singer, the association’s chief executive officer.

Earlier generations presumed they would do better economically than their parents. But the cost of living in California, particularly for housing, is the highest in the country, a reality that is driving substantial out-migration.

California has experienced a net loss in migrants for at least the last 15 years, according to the report, sponsored by the Center for California Real Estate. Indeed, for every two homebuyers who came to the state, five homeowners left. Younger families — those in their late 30s and early 40s — are most likely to leave the state.

Over the next decade, as the majority of millennials reach key home-buying ages, the long-term implications for employers and communities are profound.

Rising house prices and rents are already impacting employers, including in Silicon Valley, making it harder to attract and retain young top talent.

High prices also can mean a rapidly aging population is locked in place, unable to move, something that is likely to sap the economic potential and innovation of local communities.

Many of California’s problems are self-inflicted, the report found, the result of misguided policies that have tended to inflate land prices and drive up the cost of all kinds of housing.

Since housing is the largest household expenditure, this pushes up the cost of living.

California still has the land and the appeal to power opportunity for the next generation. But do we have the political will? It is up to us to reverse course, restore middle class prosperity, and rejuvenate the California dream — the American Dream — for the next generation.

Beware—Possible Phishing Attempt

Warning, not all emails are what they appear to be, so Realtors and members of the public need to be on high alert for email and online fraud.

For example, Realtors need to exercise caution if they receive an email with the subject line reading, “NAR: Urgent Update.”

The email will look like “[email protected],” but it is NOT from the National Association of Realtors.

The email uses the phrase “all registered Realtors are hereby advised to view the recent publication released” with a link. Do NOT click any of the links, which may ask for passwords or compromise a computer’s security. Instead, delete this email.

For more information on cyberscams and cybersecurity best practices, visit to access topics and resources, including: “Wire Fraudsters Targeting Real Estate Transactions,” “Protecting Your Business and Your Clients from Cyberfraud,” “Request to Redirect Funds Should Trigger Caution,” “Data Privacy and Security,” Risk Management,” and “Internet Security Best Practices.”

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the 9,600-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals.

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