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Housing and Homelessness

What Turbulent Mortgage Rates Mean For the California Housing Market

Miniature colorful houses are stacked on coins
As mortgage rates have increased, home ownership has moved out of range for more people.
(jaturonoofer/Getty Images
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Mortgage interest rates doubled last year, sharply reversing 2021 record lows. That left many Californians letting go of their homeownership dreams.

Why now

California's housing market is the most unaffordable it's been in the last decade. More people than ever are moving out of state to pursue lower housing costs.

The backstory

In 2021, historically low mortgage rates allowed Californians to seek out homes that would normally be too expensive. But in 2022, the Federal Reserve campaigned to address high inflation by hiking interest rates, doubling the cost of obtaining new mortgages. As a result, an estimated 400,000 Californians no longer qualified.

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For those who are still looking, Tressa Pope, a Los Angeles-area mortgage broker and founder of TPG Mortgage Lending, told us:

"They had to either stop their search all together or they had to look for something in a different price range, or a different type of property. So if they were looking for a single family home, now they're moving to a condominium or townhouse and that wasn't part of their plan."

Listen to the conversation

Our LAist 89.3 talk show AirTalk spoke to Pope, Logan Mohtashami, lead analyst for the real estate news site HousingWire, and Orphe Divounguy, senior economist with Zillow about the current state of affairs.

Listen: The state of mortgages for SoCal homebuyers

What's next

Mortgage interest rates are expected to drop again later this year, but not to the historic lows of 2021. However, the supply of affordable housing remains limited.


  • Down payment assistance programs are available for low and middle income first time homebuyers in the Los Angeles area. Pope recommends that those applying to assistance programs have a few months of mortgage payments saved.
  • The statewide California Dream For All down payment program will launch in March, putting $300 million toward helping first-time buyers. The goal of that initiative is to help more "low and moderate income" people own their own homes.
What questions do you have about Southern California?

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