I guess by the looks of the things that have been happening in the Inland Empire and the Home Sales in General, Everyone can expect that their home Sale Price, and their overall value of their whole life has just dropped down a few hundred thousand dollars. It is always a wonder that the Real Estate Sales can just tear the value of your heart out of your chest and lay it right in the center of your torso, and leave you saying why!! Why, yesterday, you were holding onto, over $500,000 in Property, and the next it drops down to $375,000. Now you are wondering where you are going to come up with the missing $225,000 to pay for the other house that you want to purchase in the area that didn't lose any value while the area that you are living in is in a super slump and loosing money every day!!
Inland area growth slowsEXPERT: Population data a blip reflecting housing, gas issues
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08:05 AM PDT on Thursday, June 28, 2007
The populations of Riverside and San Bernardino counties continue to swell but at a brisk trot rather than a gallop.
Since the 2000 census, the combined populations of the two Inland counties have grown 27 percent, new census data show. Cities also have grown swiftly, averaging 31 percent.
However, Inland cities grew about 3.2 percent in 2003 but just 1.5 percent in 2006. Eight Inland cities lost population last year.
High housing and gas prices, the home construction slowdown and higher interest rates for mortgages could be to blame, said Max Neiman, associate director of research for the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.
But it is temporary, he said.
"It's very clear that Riverside and the Inland Empire will be the premier growth spots in the state," said Neiman.
Although a 1.5 percent population growth rate may be small for the Inland area, it is near-normal for California and ahead of the national rate, said Robert Kleinhenz, deputy chief economist for the California Association of Realtors.
Some school officials say the slowdown may enable them to complete building projects and ease school crowding.
Although growth rates dropped in most Inland cities, they rose in a few other areas that had abundant vacant land and lower home prices.
Beaumont had the strongest growth rate at 30 percent in 2006. Desert Hot Springs, Coachella and Indio, San Jacinto and Lake Elsinore also had strong growth rates.
Twenty-one Inland cities are experiencing their third or more consecutive year of declining growth. Of the region's seven cities with greater than 100,000 population, only Fontana and Moreno Valley grew more than 3 percent last year. Riverside's population increase topped 1 percent and the others, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Ontario and San Bernardino, fell below that mark.
"It would be tough to continue that breakneck speed of development that we had at the beginning of the decade," said Carlos Rodriguez, deputy executive officer of the Baldy View Chapter of the Building Industry Association.
In that chapter, which includes San Bernardino County, builders pulled 14,731 residential building permits in 2006, about 2,469 fewer than 2005.
Temecula's 4.2 percent growth rate in 2006 is about half of what it was in 2000. Part of its recent growth came from its 2005 annexation of 2,436 homes from Riverside County.
Murrieta's population has more than doubled since 2000 and it remains a fast-growing city, but its pace has slowed 2 percentage points from its 11 percent growth rate in 2003.
Local school district officials, who said they expect little growth in student enrollment for two to three years, are adapting school construction plans as a result.
Murrieta Valley Unified School District will go ahead with plans to open new elementary, middle and high schools over the next two years, but the elementary school will open as a K-6 districtwide arts school rather than a neighborhood K-5 campus, spokeswoman Karen Parris said.
Two cities -- Desert Hot Springs and Hesperia -- have had three consecutive years in which the rate of population growth increased.
The population of Desert Hot Springs, a city at the northwestern edge of the Coachella Valley, has grown by more than one-third since the 2000 census, and 11.4 percent last year.
Officials there say they expect that to continue as young families look for affordable homes.
"We have more than 11,000 units that ... have not even been built yet," said Councilwoman Yvonne Parks. "We are probably, in the next five years, going to double our growth rate."
The city's elementary and middle schools are overflowing with students.
In the Pass area, Beaumont had a 30 percent growth rate in 2006, while Banning and Calimesa were near zero and Yucaipa registered about 2.3 percent.
What's Beaumont got that other areas do not?
"They call it dirt," said Kathy Munyas, office manager of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
"Ontario and all those other industrial type areas like Rancho Cucamonga have pretty much used up all their dirt," she said, but in Beaumont, on both sides of Interstate 10, "Homes are just growing like crazy."
Eight Inland cities, including Colton, Rialto, Calimesa and Banning, lost population.
While booming areas cope with student overloads, the slowdown is causing other districts to modify their budgets and building plans.
In the unincorporated Jurupa area near Riverside, for example, school district officials have seen the student population drop by nearly 600 in the past two years as families move to less-expensive homes in the High Desert and the Coachella Valley.
Retailers Still Coming
Researchers at Ontario-based Marcus & Millichap project that a still-expanding Inland population will keep developers active in 2007, with new retail construction expected to total 5.1 million square feet this year, after 4.5 million square feet came online in 2006.
Inland economist John Husing said grocery chains are competing to serve a region that saw its population grow at an average rate of 100,000 per year between 2001 and 2006.
According to Maggie Montez, a commercial real estate agent in the Indian Wells office of CB Richard Ellis, big-box retailers and restaurant chains are looking to set up their first Coachella Valley stores in newly growing areas such as Indio and Coachella.
Staff writers Julia Glick, Dan Lee, Sandra Stokley and Lou Hirsh contributed to this report.
Reach Sharon McNary at 951-368-9458 or smcnary@PE.com