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HesperiaStar.com
  • Survey ranks local cities as best places for home ownership

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  • VICTORVILLE — A recent survey ranked two High Desert cities in the top 20 best places in California for home ownership, with a third municipality just missing the cut.
    The study is part of a state-by-state series by the consumer advocacy site NerdWallet. It ranked Victorville, Hesperia and Apple Valley high on the list of 178 communities surveyed.
    The study analyzes federal data relating to home affordability, population growth, median household income and monthly homeowner costs.
    With homeownership costs of $1,641, the lowest on NerdWallet’s survey, and quick access to Riverside County via Interstate 15, Victorville ranked No. 7.
    “The area also has quite a few educational and cultural attractions, with the Victor Valley Museum, California Route 66 Museum, Lewis Center for Educational Research and Victor Valley College all located in the county,” the study said.
    Calling Victorville a “highly affordable city about 85 miles east of Los Angeles,” the study also highlighted the availability of live entertainment options, such as the Victor Valley College Performing Arts Center and the nearby San Manuel Amphitheater.
    In the survey, Victorville’s median monthly income was $4,347, with 37.7 percent going toward homeowner costs. The city also boasted an impressive population surge, growing 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2012.
    With homeowner costs at $1,560, about $80 less than Victorville, Hesperia ranked No. 16 on the NerdWallet list.
    Hesperia’s median monthly income came in at $3,836 with 40.7 percent going toward homeowner costs. Known as the Gateway City to the High Desert, Hesperia’s population grew 4.7 percent from 2010 to 2012.
    Although Apple Valley did not make the top 20, the one-time home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ranked No. 28 in the survey.
    Its median monthly income was $4,041 with 41 percent going toward homeowner costs. Apple Valley’s population grew 2.6 percent from 2010 to 2012.
    “The numbers sound about right to me,” said Becky Otwell, incoming president for the Victor Valley Association of Realtors. “And the numbers may keep growing with new tract and spec homes coming into the High Desert.”
    Otwell said the three local municipalities named in the survey have fared better in the area of development and financial stability than many of their Southern California neighbors.
    “We’re seeing homes built and businesses popping up all over,” Otwell said. “Those two things equal growth, and that’s a good thing.”
    Otwell also said people are drawn to the Victor Valley because of its proximity to the mountains, beaches, Disneyland, major airports and Las Vegas.
    The NerdWallet report said despite California’s recovery from the recession, housing is a problem that persists.
    “The Golden State’s housing shortage, coupled with stricter credit standards, has made homes in California among the most expensive in the nation,” the report said. “According to a 2014 report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, four out of five of the least affordable U.S. metropolitan areas are in California.”
    As such, the state also has the largest share of households that pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs.
    Despite high housing costs, California remains a popular place to live with a 34-month population growth of 2.9 percent, compared with the national average of 2.4 percent.
    For a full ranking of all 178 places analyzed in California for this study, visit www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/best-cities-homeownership-california.
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