A new study of census data has determined that two million Californians, or 29 percent of the state’s owner-occupied residences, were mortgage-free as of last year, up from 23 percent one decade earlier.
According to a San Jose Mercury News report
, the number of California homeowners with mortgages fell by 498,000, or 20 percent, to 4.93 million since 2006. Orange County had fastest growing number of debt-free homeowners: 168,000, a 28 percent spike over the last 10 years. Homes in that market carried a median value of $603,100 in 2016.
Nonetheless, California trails the national average of 37 percent of all homeowners living mortgage-free. And it is far behind West Virginia, which leads the nation 52 percent of its owner-occupied homes mortgage-free. Of course, there is a different in housing values between those states: the median value of West Virginia’s mortgage-less homes was $90,000 in 2016.