Friday, May 27, 2016

Is FOMO Driving Your Housing Decisions?

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People are influenced by their networks (the company they keep- friends/relatives/co-workers) and not just by their neighborhoods. FOMO - the fear of missing out comes into play when they see the positive affects being a homeowner has with people around them. It's a direct influence as people tend to mirror those closest to them. This motivates them to buy to have a successful investment in the housing market. Facebook friends matter. Do you want to rent or own? Simple interesting facts.

Is FOMO Driving Your Housing Decisions?

People who are favoriting their friends’ smart housing purchases are more likely to make their own.

Kriston Capps - May 24, 2016


Fear of missing out may be a more powerful force than any of us realize. According to a new study, FOMO—or something like it—may have a direct influence on how people make decisions in the housing market. And that influence appears to be profound enough to affect housing prices at the county level.

A new paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds a link between a person’s Facebook network and her housing investments. The paper shows that people whose friends have positive experiences in the housing market are more likely to buy themselves. They’re also more likely to buy a larger home, more likely to pay more for a home, and more likely to make a bigger down payment when their friends are making successful investments.

The work—assembled by Facebook economist Michael Bailey, Harvard University’s Ruiqing Cao, and Johannes Stroebel and Theresa Kuchler of New York University’s Stern School of Business—combines Facebook survey data with public-record information on housing transactions. Starting with a broad and diverse market of users in Los Angeles County, the researchers examined how their geographically distant networks, which usually amounted to people situated in just a few discrete areas, affected their investment decisions.
We first analyze 1,242 responses to a housing market survey among Los Angeles-based Facebook users. Over half of the survey respondents report to regularly talk to their friends about investing in the housing market. The survey also asked respondents to assess the attractiveness of property investments in their own zip code relative to other financial investments. Holding respondent characteristics fixed, we find a strong relationship between the recent house price movements in counties where a respondent has friends, and whether that respondent believes that local property is a good investment.
Now, it would only make sense that a person would take her neighbor’s experience in the housing market as instructive advice. A person who talks to her friends about their experiences with investments is doing crucial research. But this research seeks to determine “the plausibly-exogenous variation in the recent house price experiences of an individual’s geographically-distant friends as shifters of her local housing market expectations.”

Meaning, the way that a L.A. resident’s friends’ housing-investment experiences in, say, Oklahoma City influence her decisions about her own perspective on L.A. So the researchers factored for recent transplants and other factors that might influence how much L.A. residents might weigh their social networks versus local networks.

“We find that the house price experiences within an individual’s social network have quantitatively large effects on all four aspects of her housing investment decision,” the paper reads. Those four aspects are:
  1. Extensive margin decision (rent or own)
  2. Intensive margin decision (size of the home)
  3. Willingness to pay for a particular house
  4. Leverage used to finance the purchase (down payment)
According to the paper, people whose friends experience a 5 percent increase in house price over a 2-year period (from 2008 to 2010) were 3.1 percent more likely to buy a house within the next 2 years (from 2010 to 2012). This is a pronounced effect—more than half the size of the effect of adding another member to the household (such as a spouse).

Further, people with friends who were getting the most out of the housing market—in this case, a 5 percent increase over a 2-year period—were paying more for their own homes (3.3 percent) and making larger down payments (7 percent). This effect on a person’s own market decisions is correlated to a person’s cumulative social-network experience, including geographically distant networks.

The researchers also found the inverse to be true: When a person’s social network had experienced negative outcomes in the housing market, she was less likely to transition from renter to homeowner status or take other risks in the market.

“We argue that the relationship between the house price experiences in an individual’s social network and her housing market behavior is due to the effects of social interactions on her housing market expectations,” the paper reads—suggesting that liking or favoriting a friend’s upward mobility could plausibly make a person more likely to invest in the housing market. The effect is more pronounced for more social individuals:
For respondents who report that they regularly talk to their friends about whether property is a good investment, we find a strong relationship between their friends’ house price experiences and their own assessment whether property in their own zip code is a good investment. Indeed, for respondents that often talk to their friends about property investments, the effect size is twice the effect size of the average individual. For respondents that never talk to their friends about investing in the housing market, no statistically significant relationship is found.
This paper might help to explain how housing shocks are contagious across geographic boundaries. When it comes to investment decisions, people pay attention to their networks, not just their neighborhoods.



The Hourly Wage Needed to Rent a 2-Bedroom Apartment Is Rising

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Skyrocketing demand for affordable rentals continues as the average wage earner struggles to be able to afford to live in some of the priciest states. In 2016, a worker would need to make at least $20.30/an hour to rent a simple basic two bedroom home without devoting more than 30% to housing costs. Of course, this varies by city and states but it's definitely an eye opener.

The Hourly Wage Needed to Rent a 2-Bedroom Apartment Is Rising

A new report maps how much the average American has to earn to comfortably afford a modest rental in every U.S. state.

By Tanvi Misra - May 26, 2016

In 2015, the demand for rental apartments reached its highest level ever since the 1960s. The pinched access to mortgage credit after the Great Recession is one reason why. Another is that many Americans—especially the poor and people of color—haven’t felt the effects of the economic recovery, and may not be able to rustle up the funds for a down payment. A third reason is that Millennials, now the largest generation ever since the baby boomers, are especially loath to buy homes. The supply of rentals, especially at the lower end of the market, has been no match for the skyrocketing demand.

That means it’s getting harder and harder for average Americans to afford a modest rental in the U.S., a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds. “The lowest-income renters without housing assistance have always struggled to afford housing, but in recent years they have become even more squeezed as more households enter the rental market,” Andrew Aurand, the vice president of research at NLIHC, tells CityLab.

In 2016, a worker would need to make $20.30 per hour to rent a two-bedroom accommodation comfortably—without devoting more than 30 percent of income on housing costs. Last year, NLIHC pegged this “housing wage” at $19.35 an hour. (And we’re not talking about luxury apartments here. The report tallies this average hourly wage against the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent, an annual estimate of what a family might pay to live in a simple apartment.)

To really understand the weight of 2016’s housing wage, consider this: The average hourly wage for Americans is actually $15.42 per the report, which is not nearly enough to afford a two-bedroom. And the federal minimum wage, at $7.25, is around a third of what’s required. That means minimum-wage workers would have to work three jobs, or 112 hours a week, to be able to afford a decent two-bedroom accommodation. From the report:
If this worker slept for eight hours per night, he or she would have no remaining time during the week for anything other than working and sleeping.
Of course, both the rental-housing market and hourly wages vary by state. The map below illustrates the differences in “housing wages” by state. Among the states, Hawaii has the highest hourly wage requirement ($34.22) for a two-bedroom. Among U.S. metros, San Francisco is at the top with $44.02.

And here’s a graph showing the states with the biggest gaps between the current hourly wages and housing wages. Again, Hawaii leads this list:
For poor Americans, even a one-bedroom place is out of reach. There’s not a single state in the U.S. where a minimum-wage worker can comfortably afford a one-bedroom by working a 40-hour week. The map below shows the hours per week this worker would have to put in live in a modest one-bedroom in each state: 

Raising the minimum wage would undoubtedly narrow these gaps, but it’s still just not enough: “At least 22 local jurisdictions now have a minimum wage higher than their prevailing state or federal level. All fall short of the one-bedroom and two bedroom Housing Wage,” the report reads. The key lies—you guessed it—in expanding the affordable housing supply. Writes HUD Secretary Julian Castro, in the report’s preface:

This report confirms that investing in affordable housing — as HUD is doing by providing annual housing support for nearly 5.5 million households and through the new national Housing Trust Fund, as part of innovative efforts like the Rental Assistance Demonstration, and with incentives like the Low Income Housing Tax Credit — is one of the most important steps we can take to help people succeed today, and live healthier lives long into the future.




Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Share of $1 Million–Plus Homes in L.A. Has Doubled

The Share of $1 Million–Plus Homes in L.A. Has Doubled (MAP)

LA Home prices still going up... it's gone insane the past four years. As a realtor, with multiple offers still a reality in this price range its a matter of supply and demand. For now, it's still a sellers market. Volume of sales has slowed but I think it's due to lack of inventory. Yikes!

Richard Neutra's Reunion House in Silver Lake 

By Dennis Romero - May 19, 2016 

If you're looking for evidence that L.A.'s real estate market has gone absolutely insane, look no further.

A new report from real estate listings site Trulia titled "Million Dollar Creep" says the Los Angeles market's share of million-dollar homes has more than doubled between 2012 and 2016.
In some neighborhoods, residences worth $1 million or more often outnumber those worth less, the site found.

"In certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the contrast is especially striking — in Mar Vista, the share of million-dollar homes jumped from 22.4 percent in 2012 to 74.1 percent in 2016," a Trulia spokeswoman said. "In Silver Lake, the percentage share grew from 7.8 percent to just under one-half of homes valued at a million dollars or more (43.8 percent)."

Otherwise the L.A. areas with the highest increases in $1 million–plus homes over the last four years were in the South Bay (Torrance), near Beverly Hills (South Carthay) and in Glendale, according to Trulia.

"Each of the major Southern California housing markets — Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, and San Diego — have witnessed a doubling in the share of million-dollar homes over the past few years," the site said in a statement.

Nationally, L.A. ranked fifth for markets with the largest percentage increases in million-dollar homes from 2012 to 2016.

The Bay Area's San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland took the three top spots, respectively, Trulia found. Orange County was fourth nationally. San Diego was seventh. And Ventura County was ninth.

Trulia says it looked at home values, not just listings, in 100 of the nation's largest metro areas.
Check out the map below. If you're shopping for a home in L.A. right now, you're either technically rich or very optimistic. In either case, good luck.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living

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We have the most sophisticated and wealthiest generation of baby boomers thus far. Traditional stereotypes of retirement are out the window. Large percentage of today's baby boomers are an urban savvy group of Americans. A quality lifestyle that affords mental stimulation. They want to live in the same places as the younger generation where the cool people hang out. Amenities, modern day conveniences, walkable cities, proximity to restaurants, galleries, concierge services, as it's their time to really enjoy the carefree lifestyle.

Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living


It’s the traditional migratory circle of life: Young folks flock to the blazingly bright cities to make their careers and have their kicks; middle-aged peeps move to the burbs, buy homes, and raise their broods; older Americans search out warmer, cheaper, and more water-aerobic-centric climes to make their retirement nests. End of story, right? But hold on. Baby boomers have changed just about everything over the past few decades. Now, as more enter their twilight years, they’re changing the face of American cities, too.

Instead of migrating south en masse to retirement communities in the Sunshine State or the wilds of Arizona, more and more baby boomers—a particularly urban-savvy group of Americans—are moving back to the metro areas they abandoned when they began raising families. And in leaving their suburban homesteads, these empty nesters are redefining the urban centers they now call home. Again.

Boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, are  the largest and wealthiest generation to ever retire—a fact hardly lost on savvy developers and businesses. Larger and more expensive city residences chock-full of active senior–friendly amenities, like round-the-clock concierge services, are going up across the country, And more upscale, boomer-targeted shops and restaurants are opening their doors to serve these newly minted urban dwellers.

The numbers are beginning to tell the tale. Only 11% of buyers aged 50 to 59 closed on homes in urban areas and central cities from July 2013 through June 2014, according to a 2015 National Association of Realtors® report. A year later, that percentage had edged up to 13%. At first glance it doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming leap, but when you consider that there are an estimated 74.9 million boomers, even a minority can make an impact.

And it seems that the bigger the city, the bigger the appeal. “If you can afford to live in Manhattan, it’s a great place to be older,” says Jonathan Smoke,®‘s chief economist. “You’re not shoveling snow. You can walk or get transportation to any doctor or service you need. And you have a friendly doorman that pays attention to you and acts as an additional caretaker.”

The influx of the older and wiser is particularly pronounced in the most walkable cities and lots of college towns, Smoke says. These areas tend to be full of condos as well as restaurants, shops, and cultural venues such as museums and theaters. They also often have classes and workshops that are popular with retirees. They’re packed with cool places, cool things to see, cool people. And scarcely a shuffleboard court to be found.

“The interesting trend is that the places where many young people want to live are the same places where many retirees want to live,” Smoke says.

Sick of the suburbs

Many of New York City real estate agent Victoria Woolley Parry‘s clients are former urbanites who are moving back because they don’t want to spend their golden years maintaining a big house in the boonies. And they crave the mental stimulation found in the City That Never Sleeps.

“It’s a lot of work to live in the suburbs,” says Parry, a Manhattan agent with Parry Properties of Keller Williams. They’re “looking to shed themselves from the suburban entanglements of having to care for the pool or the lawn or getting strangled by the ivy.”

Most of her older clients are wealthy suburbanites buying condos and co-ops starting at $1 million.
In Chicago, boomers tend to buy up multimillion-dollar condos and single-family houses in the city, preferably near the ballet, opera, and theaters, says luxury real estate broker Sheldon Salnick.
Five years ago, rich suburbanites aged 50 to 70 made up only about 5% of his clientele at Dream Town Realty. Now it’s about 10% to 15%, he says.

What they want

New buildings now offer amenities tailored to this demographic, Salnick says. They include concierge services similar to those offered at hotels. Such services make it easy to arrange for dog walkers, plan parties, or bring in a masseuse after a stressful day on the golf course.

“They’re coming from 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot houses. They want space. They want an office. They want room for their [visiting] kids,” Salnick says. “They’re interested in things being done for them.”

To cater to these “booming” buyers, urban builders are now putting up more two-bedroom residences with dens and expanded “laundry rooms,” which are generally repurposed  into hobby or craft centers or miniature home offices, says Isabell Kerins, a director of product and business development at Irvine, CA–based John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

She’s also seeing more elevators installed, even in residences with just two floors. And builders are bringing back wet bars and showy wine rooms, closets, and nooks, often with glass enclosures and refrigeration, she says.

More services to meet their needs

In Philadelphia, graying new residents are already revitalizing the historic city. More high-end dining, boutiques, and even pop-up shops are catering to these new residents, says Harris Steinberg, executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University.

Nationally, more mixed-use developments with housing, businesses, and services such as doctor’s offices are expected to go up in urban areas, says Jean Setzfand, senior vice president of programs at AARP, a Washington, DC–based nonprofit and lobbying group for older Americans. They will be aimed at both older and younger city dwellers who don’t want to drive or hop in an Uber to pick up necessities, get a checkup, or enjoy a night out.

More art galleries, theaters, and other cultural organizations are also expected to sprout up to appeal to these patrons with ample supplies of both leisure time and money.
And Setzfand expects cities will create more open, car-free, and park spaces where residents of all ages can walk, bike, and enjoy warm-weather concerts. It’s a trend already well underway in places like New York.

“Older individuals are stronger voters,” Setzfand says. “That’s why a lot of the local leaders are paying attention” to what they want. And they’re working to change cities to meet those needs.
But these perks come at a familiar price: gentrification. In the oldest parts of Philadelphia, for example, boomers are driving up rental and sale prices, which is in turn driving out some of the younger and existing residents who don’t have such deep pockets, says the Lindy Institute’s Steinberg.

More urban suburbs

Those in the Washington, DC, area who aren’t ready to cut the suburban cord often move to closer-in, walkable suburbs that are more like small cities themselves, like Bethesda or Chevy Chase, MD, says real estate agent Asmeret Demeter-Medhane. There’s an influx of condos going up in these areas a stone’s throw from great restaurants and shopping.

Those buyers, like other urban dwellers, are seeking more amenities says Demeter-Medhane, of Long and Foster Real Estate at Christie’s International. And they’re willing to pay for it—to the tune of $700,000 and up.

She’s seeing more buildings come online that appeal to older buyers with their “massive” master bedrooms, huge kitchens, libraries, and fireplaces in their units as well as 24-hour concierges and high-end spas and fitness centers in their buildings.

“Ten or 15 years ago, everyone was moving out into the suburbs,” says Demeter-Medhane, who estimates that about a quarter of her clients are now boomers. “And now everyone is moving back in.”


Friday, May 6, 2016

How Real Estate Adds to Retirement Income

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 Real estate is a viable option to consider to diversify your investments. It builds a steady flow of income and is a solid investment when done right. With historically low interest rates and rising rents it is not too late to jump into the game.

How Real Estate Adds to Retirement Income

For some investors, real estate is a viable option for generating money and diversifying your investments.

By Kira Brecht | Contributor
May 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.
When it comes to retirement, multiple streams of income may be the magic phrase. Perhaps you will have Social Security payments, retirement fund distributions, annuity payments or, if you are really lucky, a pension.

For those looking to beef up their retirement income stream, real estate investing is another option to consider.

But investing in real estate isn't like writing a check to a mutual fund company. This one requires legwork, maintenance and perhaps a few headaches along the way. Think broken pipes, bad tenants or vacant rental units.

Investors willing to pull up their sleeves and invest time along with money may find real estate could be another pipeline toward the multiple streams of income that we all desire. Real estate can be another form of diversification.

"Rental properties can be an excellent way to balance an investment portfolio, since real estate does not correlate highly with stock market fluctuations. Real estate, if purchased correctly and managed properly, can provide a steady stream of income regardless of economic conditions, and can appreciate in value over time, leaving a nice nest egg for retirement," says Lukas Krause, CEO of Real Property Management in Salt Lake City.

Growth in renting. The current landscape is still positive for real estate investors. "Now is still a great time to buy rental properties," says Bill Brown, a Realtor in Oakland, California and president-elect of the the National Association of Realtors.

"Interest rates are still low and rents are still rising in a lot of areas. I do, however, think we are closer to the end of the cycle of dramatic rent increases than we are to the beginning," he says. "We probably have another two to three years of strong-to-moderate rent growth."
Here are some steps to get started.

Start saving cash. When you have an adequate down payment, get pre-approved for a bank loan so you can act quickly when a great property becomes available, Krause says.
"Do your financial analysis before placing an offer," he says. "Confirm likely rental rates, the cost of making the property rent-ready, and work with a real estate agent well versed in investment properties."

The trick for making real estate investing profitable is making sure the numbers work. Make sure there is a large enough rental income stream to cover the mortgage, insurance, taxes, upgrades, refurbishing between tenants, maintenance and repairs.

"Do your due diligence to see if the actual market rent that can be achieved is at or above current rental rates. Real estate is usually a solid investment and if you do your homework, it can pay off quite well," Brown says.

One method to assess if an investment property is worth purchasing is to utilize the IRS Income Tax Schedule E. Put the numbers on the tax schedule to see if you can cover expenses with the property's income stream.

Also, ask the current owners for the previous two years of detailed profit and loss statements and current year-to-date statements, Brown says.

First-time real estate investors may want to start small. Options to consider include a single-family home or a small- two or four-unit apartment building. One drawback for a single-family home is that if the rental is vacant, you will be stuck with a 100 percent vacancy rate. A small apartment building can spread the vacancy risk.

Find a property that is affordable to the buyer and to potential renters, Krause says.

"Properties near the average or median property value – $210,000 – tend to be the least risky and can command a good rental rate. Houses with three bedrooms, two bathrooms in a good neighborhood, in a strong school district and in good shape are the most desirable. Think opportunistically. Be on the lookout all the time, because good deals come and go quickly," Krause says.

Location, location, location. If you plan to manage the property yourself, which will include showing the unit to potential tenants and being on call for maintenance and repairs, you may want to consider a property near your own home for convenience.

Other considerations are types of neighborhoods. Are you willing to be an aggressive investor looking at property in perhaps undervalued but potentially more risky neighborhoods?

"If you're conservative, do you want a well-established area that will have a lower rate of return but one that you can consistently count on compared to an area you think is in the path of progress where rents will significantly rise in the next three to five years? A Realtor can help you determine what your goals are and what your comfort level is, and then help you find the right area and property for you," Brown says.

Last but not least, pick your tenants carefully. "Tenant screening is a critical step that is often discounted. If not managed correctly, a whole host of issues could be created to significantly damage your returns, such as increased risk of tenant default, eviction and litigation. Proper screening will include credit and criminal background checks and referrals from past rental property owners. The Fair Housing Act and local and state regulations also must be considered when setting selection criteria," Krause says.

Investing in real estate should be considered a longer-term commitment. You can't exit a real estate investment by clicking the sell button on your brokerage house account screen. Take the time to consider all aspects carefully before jumping in.

"The investment is not necessarily liquid, because it is not always easy to sell a house," Krause says. "However, rents continue to increase and housing appreciates very well in the long term. There are also potential tax benefits."


Thursday, May 5, 2016

California suburbs are growing, despite lack of housing

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Suburbs that have convenient transportation, shopping and restaurant hubs are growing in population. Residents like the lifestyle of modern day conveniences being centrally located. California's economy is on fire with an addition of 450,000 new jobs last year making it the eighth fastest growing state in the nation. The housing supply has simply not kept up with demand thus the stock of affordable homes is becoming an issue. The lack of housing available is limiting it's further growth.

California suburbs are growing, despite lack of housing

Several areas in Southern California saw population growth in 2015, according to the state s new population data. (LA Daily News file)

By Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News ; Posted 5/3/16

Big cities are growing, but so are the suburbs, where the region's population is flocking for a slim supply of available housing, according to an annual state report released Monday.

The Golden State's population expanded to 39.3 million residents, an increase of just less than 1 percent with Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties seeing growth from January 2015 to January of this year.

Despite the lure of the big city, places far from urban downtown areas have been seeing notable boosts in population, such as Lake Forest in Orange County, which grew 3.7 percent. Eastvale, a community in western Riverside County, saw its numbers rise by 3.8 percent. Santa Fe Springs, Azusa and Santa Clarita also saw growth.

More baby boomers are downsizing and finding homes closer to rapid transit lines, shopping and restaurant hubs, agreed Jim Link, CEO of the Van Nuys-based Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

"I do think there is still a strong movement toward the downtown lofts and condos," Link said. "But I think you'll find in Santa Clarita, for example, that with recent new construction near their central core, where the larger employers are, is where people move."

For the first time, the city of Los Angeles reached 4million people and led the state with 12,224 new multi-family units.

In fact, most of the 482 cities across California saw their populations grow in 2015, including Beaumont, Long Beach and Irvine, even though the housing market remained flat across board, the report noted.
What's driving the growth?

With the addition of 450,000 new jobs last year and its title as the eighth-fastest growing state in the nation, California's economy "is on fire," said Christopher Thornberg, a founding partner of Beacon Economics, which provides economic analysis to private businesses and the public sector.
But it's a mixed bag, he added.

California's affordable housing stock is not keeping up with its population growth.
"It all boils down to this," Thornberg said. "Taxes and regulations are a problem for state businesses, but it's not what defines California. In the end, this California growth story is a lack-of-housing story."

Hasan Ikhrata, executive director for the Southern California Association of Governments, agreed, saying the continued population increase should be a wake-up call to leaders.

"What should be alarming to leaders is that our housing is not keeping up with the growth," Ikhrata said. "We have one of the worst housing affordability rates in the country."

Ikhrata said millennials who are starting families want to move to suburbs but also want the convenience of public transportation they grew accustomed to in urban areas.

"Right now we should provide more options for cars and more multifamily and single-family affordable homes," he added.

Monday's report also shows:

Of 482 California cities, 44 saw population reductions, and one experienced no change.
Vernon in Los Angeles County had the largest percentage growth in California, increasing by 72 percent because of a new housing development.

Net housing units were down 3 percent, a result of wildfires in unincorporated portions of Lake County and Calaveras County.

Amid the gains, however, there were some notable losses, including an 11 percent decrease among inmates held in jails, a figure that stood out to Doug Kuczynski, a research program specialist with the state Department of Finance, which issued the annual report.

Those who live in college dorms, prisons and military barracks make up about 2 percent of California's population. But that population decreased by 1 percent, a result of a drop caused by prison realignment, which began in California in 2011 to fulfill a U.S. Supreme Court mandate to reduce overcrowding in state prisons. It handed over to counties the responsibility of jailing and supervising the probation of non-violent criminals.

"There are probably more inmates who are paroled," Kuczynski added. "With the start of prison realignment, jails actually saw an increase. Now that more inmates are being paroled, we're seeing jail populations fall as well."

The state's population estimates are produced each year to help the state know how to allocate funding.