Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Should You Invest in California or outside California? Part 1

I am often asked this question, “where should I invest in real estate, in California, or out-of-state?” There are pros and cons to either choice. In this article, I want to talk about population and its growth.

According to US Census Bureau, as of July 1st, 2008, the US population is estimated at around 304 million. California is the most populated state (36 million), followed by Texas (24 million), New York (19 million) and Florida (18 million).

Population July 1, 2008
Look at the pie chart above, you will notice that one of every eight Americans is Californian.

How about the growth? From April 1st, 2000 to July 1st, 2008, Texas grew by 3.4 million people, followed by California (2.8 million), Florida (2.3 million), Georgia (1.5 million), Arizona (1.3 million) and North Carolina (1.1 million).

Population Growth by Number
Percentage wise, during the same period, California grew by 8.5%. Nevada has the highest percentage growth (30.1%), followed by Arizona (26.7) and Utah (22.5%).

Population Growth by Percent
Looking back as far as 1930, the graphics below will show you the population history for 11 different states in the US.

Population 1930-2008
Population 1930-2008
Source: US Census Bureau

Another interesting observation, during the period of 1988-2003, California is the number one destination for immigrants to come. According to US Department of Homeland Security, among all of the immigrants that enter US, 31% of them settle in California. That number is only from international immigration. Domestic migration into California also contributes to its growth.

Immigration 1988-2003
Source: US Department of Homeland Security

If present trends continue, California's population will likely reach 40 million by 2010, and 45.5 million by 2020 (source: California Department of Finance). Long term perspective, based on population growth, the demand for housing in California is still strong.

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