Business Survey Shows Housing Cost Concerns

Times Staff Writer

The business community of Ventura County may be bullish on economic growth in the area, but a recent survey shows concern over the high cost of local housing and its impact on employment, according to a report from Ventura County National Bank.

Respondents to the semiannual survey, which was released this week, said the cost of housing in 1989 will have the most significant impact on Ventura County's economy, followed by growth/no-growth issues.

With houses costing an average of $260,000 at the end of 1988, the report said prospective buyers would have to earn "in excess of $80,000 per year. When compared to the median family income in the county of $43,000, it is apparent that it is becoming impossible for local families to afford housing."

That concern has an impact on employers, the report said.

"Employers are finding it necessary to pay their current workers more so they can afford to live here. In addition, it is becoming more costly to attract new job applicants to the county."

More than 580 businesses responding to the survey forecast for the balance of 1989 that sales will increase and profits will follow sales. More than one-fourth of the respondents indicated that their profits were up more than 10% in 1988 compared with 1987.

Half of the companies and professionals reported that their employment levels had increased in 1988; only 2% of the businesses indicated that they are considering leaving the county.

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