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Rent Or Buy A Home?

Sonora, CA –   The results are in for Tuolumne County’s Workforce Housing Survey which sought to zero in on local housing preferences.

A total of 1,122 surveys were completed by Mother Lode residents employed in Tuolumne County, regarding their housing needs and preferences.  The average age of those who took the survey ranged between 51 and 60.  One interesting outcome, according to County Housing Program Coordinator Sheila Shanahan, “With the downturn in home prices, there has been a lot of talk as to whether or not home ownership is still what people are wanting.  The survey showed that,  in this county they do — as an overwhelming number of people said that they wanted to own a home instead of rent.”  In fact, the survey showed that 92% of the respondents prefer home ownership compared to 8% who would rather rent.

As previously reported, in November, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors Housing Policy Committee posted the survey online and made hard copies available for major employers in the county to distribute.  The goal was to find out, through a series of questions, how the county could better plan for workforce housing needs across the local communities.

What the survey found was 66% of workers own a home while 34% rent.  Of the latter, 74% would rather rent a single-family home than live in an apartment.  As for where respondents want to live 37% (the highest percentage) chose the City of Sonora. Twain Harte (at 24%) and East Sonora at (23%) nearly tied for second.  When asked if they are considering moving from Tuolumne County for any of several specific reasons, 53% of the respondents indicated in the affirmative due to a lack of employment; 48% cited they are due to no affordable housing; 23% said their preferred style of housing was not available.

The bottom line, Shanahan says, “There’s a need for more workforce housing, both rental and [through] home ownership.  Workers want to be close to jobs and services.  They want ‘walk-ability’, to be close to restaurants, shops and entertainment, so [there’s] a need for more housing, and closer in [to the city].”

According to Shanahan, the housing committee and Board of Supervisors are expected to use the survey results when they are considering housing proposals to make sure that plans are on target with what the county’s workforce says it wants and needs.

Click here to view the complete survey results.  Final County Workforce Housing Survey.