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Homeowners Staying Put, Market Stagnating


Sacramento area homeowners who sold in the third-quarter had owned their home an average of nine years. Researchers say that's a new high...and about twice the nationwide, pre-recession average of four-years.

Daren Blomquist is with ATTOM Data Solutions. He says it makes for a stagnant housing market.

"That is, I think, why you're seeing a lot of complaints of lack of inventory for first-time home buyers," says Blomquist. "Because a lot of these homeowners, who were first-time home buyers 10 years ago, are staying in their homes longer. And that's causing a bit of a logjam in the typical housing market lifecycle."

Blomquist says people are staying in their homes longer to earn more equity.

In Sacramento County, nearly 107,000 homeowners were equity rich during the third-quarter. That's up nine percent from the same period last year. Equity rich is when you owe 50 percent or less on your mortgage than what your home is worth.

Fewer Sacramento area homeowners owe more than what their home is worth...sometimes referred to as being underwater.

Third-quarter statistics show 7.5 percent of homeowners in the region were seriously underwater. Blomquist says that's down from a year ago when 11 percent were underwater.

"So we've come down pretty dramatically now to single digits underwater in Sacramento," says Blomquist. "And on the equity rich side, we're showing 29 percent of homeowners in Sacramento, almost one-third, are now equity rich."

Statewide, the number of equity rich homeowners is also up. About 36 percent of all homeowners in the state, or nearly three million homeowners, owe 50 percent or less on their mortgage than what their home is worth. That's up seven-percent from a year ago.

Blomquist says on the flip-side, about half-a-million California homeowners still owe more than what their home is worth.

"But the good news is that's only 6.6 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, which is really down," says Blomquist. "I mean a year ago even, we were seeing 8.5 percent of homeowners underwater. So it's come down. And at the peak of the crisis we were seeing close to a third of homeowners underwater."

Meanwhile, California cities with the highest share of equity rich homeowners include: San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.


 real estatehome sales

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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