Statistics by John Husing Ph.D
Residential. Murrieta is one of California’s fastest growing communities. From 2000-2006, its population growth rate (109.9%) ranked 2nd in the state and it added the 8th largest number of new residents (48,651). This is largely occurring because of the rapid expansion of the city’s housing stock. Meanwhile, the city’s homes are valuable because of its excellent living environment. Murrieta’s location on the I-15 freeway, mid-way between San Diego and Orange counties, means it is receiving growth impulses from both, a new phenomena in Southern California. As a result, Murrieta has seen its existing and new single family home sales reach record levels, and homeowners are seeing property values continue to reach all-time highs.
Murrieta’s existing home sales reached a record 2,079 units in 2005, up from 2,022 in 2004. Its volume ranked eighth in the Inland Empire behind several larger cities with Temecula (2,106) having the next highest volume and Ontario (1,717) the next lowest. Compared to 2004, Murrieta’s sales increase of 57 units ranked fourth among major inland markets behind Riverside (124) and ahead of Moreno Valley (40). Murrieta’s new home market set a record of 4,073 units in 2005. This was also the highest sales level in the Inland Empire ahead of Corona (3,065) and Fontana (1,635). The city’s 2004-2005 sales gain of 1,617 units also led the region.
In Murrieta, residents are continuing to see their homes reach record prices. In 1st quarter 2006, the city’s median existing home price was $469,138, up 13.7% from a year earlier, though below the record $477,339 of 4th quarter 2005. Its prices ranked third among major Inland Empire cities below Rancho Cucamonga ($566,213) and Corona ($547,146). The city’s 13.7% price increase from 1st quarter 2005-2006 was relatively modest since its price spurt occurred earlier than in many cities and because price issues in San Diego County are beginning to affect Southwest Riverside County. In the new home market, Murrieta’s 1st quarter 2006 median price of $498,886 was a record, up 6.8% from the prior year. The city’s new home price ranked seventh among the large Inland Empire cities behind Rancho Cucamonga ($723,268), Corona ($607,732), and Fontana ($549,813). Its 6.8% price gain was the sixth highest among these cities following Corona (8.3%). The greatest increase was in Rancho Cucamonga (37.8%).
On a Southern California basis, Murrieta is attracting home buyers in part because its 1st quarter 2006 median new home price of $499,000 was $191,000 less expensive than Orange County ($690,000). Meanwhile, a 3,000 square foot home in Murrieta costs $678,000 versus $1,053,000 in San Diego and $1,185,000 in Los Angeles. In the existing home market, Murrieta’s $469,000 median existing home price was $46,000 below Los Angeles ($515,000), $86,500 less than San Diego ($555,500) and $201,000 below Orange ($670,000) counties.
Murrieta’s housing stock soared from 1,847 to 31,703 units from 1990-2005, including 23,332 additional single family units, 5,932 more multi-tenant units and 592 more mobile homes. The city is primarily made up of single family detached homes. In 2000, 76.4% of Murrieta’s dwellings were of this kind, the highest percentage among major inland cities. In the rental market, Murrieta is part of a Southwest Riverside County area that in 4th quarter 2005 had average monthly apartment rental rate of $1,087, up 3.6%. This was the fourth highest rate in the Inland Empire. At the same time, the area had a 5.8% vacancy rate, highest in the region.
In 2005, 4.6% of Murrieta’s dwellings were vacant, putting it in the upper half of the large Inland Empire markets due to unsold new homes. The city is the least densely populated of the inland region’s major cities with 3.08 people per occupied dwelling unit. Looking ahead, builders continue to want to develop in Murrieta. They were granted a record 1,318 permits for new single family homes during 2005, 9% of Riverside County’s permits.