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California suburbs growing fast as many are priced out of cities, data show

San Francisco

San Francisco added nearly 2,900 new housing units last year, according to state officials. But the suburbs around it and Los Angeles are growing as people are looking for better pricing. 

(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Suburban areas on the outskirts of the red-hot Los Angeles and San Francisco areas grew especially fast last year, state officials reported Monday.

San Joaquin County, home to Stockton, grew faster than any other, up 1.3% to 733,000 people. The area has become increasingly popular for people fleeing astronomical San Francisco Bay Area housing prices while remaining within commuting distance.

San Joaquin was followed by Yolo, Riverside and Santa Clara counties.

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The fastest-growing city was Vernon, which grew a whopping 72% thanks to a new housing development that brought its population to 210.

Among cities with at least 30,000 people, the fastest-growing were concentrated primarily in the Inland Empire and Orange County: Porterville, Eastvale, Lake Forest, Beaumont and Lake Elsinore.

The number of new housing units in California declined last year for the first time since the start of the economic recovery, due mostly to wildfires that scorched more than 2,000 homes.

California’s housing supply rose by 67,110 units last year, compared with an increase of 69,435 units in 2014. Demographers at the California Department of Finance say the number of new units would have been about equal to the year before if the destructive wildfires in Lake and Calaveras counties had not hit.

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Of the new units created, just over half were multi-family dwellings such as apartments and condominiums. Los Angeles, the state’s largest city, saw the most growth in housing, with 12,224 new units. It was followed by San Francisco with nearly 2,900, San Jose with just over 2,000 and San Diego with about 1,750.

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The housing hit came as California’s population grew to 39.1 million last year, an increase of 348,000 people, just under 1%.

Most of the state’s 482 cities saw population gains, but 44 cities shrank and one — tiny Tehama, population 431 — was unchanged.

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