Real estate chroniclers have a book full of terms to describe various facets of the industry, and we can now add the newest phrase-- market hotness.
That bit of jargon relates to the total number of home building permits issued per 1,000 population in a given city.
It translates to show that the massive movement to the Sun Belt since the post-World War II years is waning, except for California, but that jobs, population and housing are still predominant in the South and West.
These findings are from the newest study of growth trends in 30 of the country's major housing markets, as reported by Dallas-based Lomas & Nettleton, the nation's largest independent mortgage banker.
The report notes that while the Sun Belt dominated the nation's economy and housing markets during the early years of this decade, since then the share of the six largest California markets has almost doubled--from 6.5% to 12%. That's market hotness.
Since 1982, the California market has gained seven times as many jobs as in the immediate previous period.
Over the same span, the four largest Texas markets fell from 10% to under 4%, and projections are a continuation of that pattern in the state's distressed economy.
Yet, in three Rust Belt markets, the share of business has grown from 2.5% to 4.5% in Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis.
In the Northeast, buoyed by a surge of expansions in the high-technology field, housing has experienced a huge amount of activity, doubling its national market share from 4.5% to 7%. The report concedes that California is a "hard-to-classify" area:
"In any analysis of regional patterns, the California markets hold an anomalous position. Like the Sun Belt markets, they are magnets for immigration. Yet, like the Northeast and Midwest markets, they are heavily built-up industrial centers.
"They have the nation's highest density single-family housing. And Los Angeles and Orange counties have the next highest manufacturing sectors to Detroit.
"California was the first region to sustain a mass migration from the North and East after World War II. The first wave was ex-servicemen who had served at California bases during the war and fell in love with its climate, land and life style.
"Subsequent peak migrations--in the early '60s, the late '70s and since '82--have coincided with upturns in defense and aerospace employment.
"Land has never been cheap in California because so much of it is not buildable. But it took the '60s and '70s waves of migration to lift land and housing costs to more than 40% above the U. S. average.
"Although inmigration since 1982 is even higher than in the late '70s and probably broke records in '85-'86, house prices in this period have increased more slowly than income, reversing a 10-year trend. However, San Diego and San Francisco posted record rent increases--averaging 10% a year between 1982 and 1986.
"Much of California's inmigration (as also New York's) is not from other regions but from other countries, mostly Hispanics and Asians. This has a lagged effect on housing demand since many immigrants double up initially."
Finally, the study projects the California market to average more than 11% from now until 1990, continuing its lead in market hotness.