Summary of the Results of the Community Housing Survey

The conducted research examined the relationship between affordable housing and housing costs in the city of Santa Ana, California as of 2018, including both rent and mortgage. Students of California Polytechnic State University of Pomona and residents of Santa Ana participated through the use of an online survey. Some of these students are not residents of Santa Ana, but their responses provided insight into housing prices and affordable housing in their cities, which broadened our original area of study. Our survey questions focused more on individual attitudes instead of government policies.

We hypothesized that the increases in housing costs decrease the rate of affordable housing in Santa Ana. Results from the data analysis showed that there is a relation between rising housing costs and the rate of affordable housing. Although our results focus on attitudes and personal experiences, they are consistent with empirical research published on the same issue in Palo Alto, California. Based on that research and our survey responses from individuals who reside in cities outside Santa Ana, our results found that this relationship between increasing housing costs and decreasing affordable housing happens on a state-level scale.

Keywords: affordable housing, Santa Ana, housing cost


Rising housing costs whether it is rent or mortgage payments is a topic that is discussed more in the public realm since the Great Recession from 2007-to 2009. During the recession, many people in the U.S. lost their homes, businesses shut down, and the overall economy fell to record lows. Like all other aspects of the economy, the housing market experienced a negatively noticeable impact and struggled to regain normality in the years after (Khouri, 2018).

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The increase in housing costs is an effect of several factors of the recession. In recent years, the government has done a better job in providing alternative options for those who can not afford the rise in rent or house sales by issuing programs such as Section 8 policies, low-income housing, and affordable housing (Pirulis 2017). These programs are meant to help those who qualify or those technically classified as low-income in their area of residence. However, what is the relationship between affordable housing rates and rising house costs? Does the increase in house costs mean an increase in affordable housing units or does the opposite happen? Affordable housing accommodates the needs of low and moderate-income households at prices that are below the average housing market price (City of Calgary, 2002). Attitudes of renters and homeowners can provide insightful information to add to the vastness of empirical data and statistical research done on the topics of affordable housing and house prices. Thus, the focus of this research is more on those attitudes of renters and homeowners of Santa Ana. The goal was to find whether they believed the rise in housing costs affected the rate of affordable housing available or constructed in their area.

Based on previous research and other reasons, the chosen area of study is the city of Santa Ana in California. Reason one: at the time of conducting this study in 2018, the city experienced steady increases in housing costs for several years (Khouri, 2018). Reason two: for convenience, Santa Ana is relatively close to the University of Cal Poly Pomona where most of the group work happened. Last reason: at the time of conducting this study, one of the members in this research group is an active resident of the city who provided insight and confirmation of the rise in housing costs based on his personal experience. We hypothesize that the rise in housing costs affects the rate of affordable housing in Santa Ana. Our null hypothesis is the rise in housing costs does not affect the rate of affordable housing in Santa Ana.

Literature review

Choosing Santa Ana to be the area of study, there was preconceived knowledge that the house costs were increasing for some years based on discussions with the member of the research group that resides in Santa Ana and other students from Cal Poly Pomona University who are residents too. Our group conducted some background research on the state of the city’s housing market and the reasons that led to the rise in housing costs.

In Southern California, the median home price for new and resale housing units as of March 2018 increased by about 40,000 dollars since March 2017, which was $520,000. Prices in Southern California increased each month for six years straight since 2012 and financial specialists in the housing market speculate that the reasons are due to an increase in jobs, a history of low mortgage rates, and the shortage of houses for sale (Khouri, 2018). Although housing construction increased after the recession, there was still a shortage in housing units compared to the rate at which jobs and the population grew. Due to the lack of demand met, house prices increased in each of the six counties within Southern California including Orange County which experienced an increase of 8.7% since the previous year in March 2017 (Khouri, 2017). Santa Ana is within Orange County and is no exception to this stark increase. Khouri explains in his article that mortgage rates increased from around 3% to 4.5% from January 2018 to March 2018 and are expected to increase in the next months and years after 2018. The median home value for Santa Ana as of December 2018 is $541,700 (“Santa Ana Home Prices & Values,” 2018). Andrew Khouri’s article, “Southern California Home Prices Jump to a Record High” is a valuable piece of literature because his work as a housing market journalist for the Los Angeles Times has been reliable and accurate. His research focused on the declining rate of home sales in Southern California mentioning Orange County, Los Angeles County, and other counties that are affected by this increase in housing prices. Although the focus of research is on housing affordability in Santa Ana, his work helps to understand the aspect of rising house costs on a broader scale in which Santa Ana falls.

Regarding rent, which is part of the scope of analyzing rising house costs, we used for data collection. The Social Explorer website is a search engine database that provides maps of different sorts of demographics. The data comes from various empirical data sources such as the U.S. Census and American Census Survey. For our research, we searched rental prices in only Santa Ana. An analysis of the rent occupied rent-occupied housing units in Santa Ana from 2013-to 2017, showed that rental units that charged between $1,000-$2,000 increased from 23,768 units in 2013 to over 26,500 units in 2017. Rental units which charged over $2,000 increased from 3,923 units in 2013 to over 4,700 units in 2017 (“Rent Occupied Housing Units With Cash Rent: American Census Survey 2013-2017”, 2013-2017). The Santa Ana median rent for December 2018 is $2,950 (“Santa Ana Home Prices & Values,” 2018).

The numerical values found for home prices and rent in these two sources, Khouri’s article, and the Social Explorer database proved that rise in housing unit costs in Santa Ana has happened since 2012, and we suppose it has happened even before then. Although proof of this rise is evident through the empirical data, the question arises whether this increase in housing costs affects the overall rate of affordable housing and its availability to its residents in need of it. Thus, our research question is, does the rise in housing costs affect the rate of affordable housing in Santa Ana?

Another question is whether this rise is apparent to residents of Santa Ana and what their attitudes to this change are. Without further research on whether increasing housing costs affect the rate of affordable housing in Santa Ana, the research team knew from previous experience or knowledge that in some cases, housing cost increases led to a rise in affordable housing units in certain cities. For example, a closer look into the city of East Palo Alto from whom one person in the research team originates.

In the Silicon Valley in California, residents have long seen a rise in housing costs for decades due to increases in technology businesses and new developments from Apple Company’s startup with Steve Jobs in Palo Alto to the current location of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, both multi-billion dollar companies. Although much of the cities in the Silicon Valley have been affluent since their establishment, technology businesses and new developments in the past ten years have caused land values to steadily increase in more impoverished neighboring cities such as East Palo Alto and areas in Redwood City. In response, these once poor areas experienced increases in their local economy with new developments and businesses established with record highs in 2012. Another rising development is affordable housing units or low-income units. As of 2018, East Palo Alto has 8 low-income housing apartments with a total of 495 units, a steady increase since 2013 (“East Palo Alto, CA Affordable Housing Snapshot,” 2018). These rental units are for those who pay more than 30% of their total gross income towards rent.

In researching whether the rise in housing costs affects the number of affordable housing units available in Santa Ana, this study focuses on individual testimonies and attitudes of current residents because there is not enough data on people’s experiences towards these kinds of changes in housing markets. Instead, there is more research that explains the relationships within housing markets based on analysis of government policies and more numerical findings.

Data analysis

Methods of data collection included the creation of an online survey form through the Google platform and a temporary post of this survey on the website Reddit where people can answer if they currently or previously resided in Santa Ana. We shared the online survey link with people that our research team knew was from Santa Ana. One of the group members who is a current resident, physically surveyed individuals in his community. However, the study sample needed to be at least 30 people, and our sample size was less. With permission in conducting this research, our area of study was changed to include Santa Ana residents and students of Cal Poly Pomona University in Pomona, California to yield more opinions. That also meant that our area of study included areas outside of Santa Ana since many of the students were not residents of that city. We published our survey online, and only those with a link could access it. The survey was active from the first week of December 2018 and closed in the second week. The total number of people who answered our survey was 32.

Our survey questions were changed to include people who were not from Santa Ana. Once the survey was closed, we analyzed the responses through Google forms’ automated data collection through excel sheets and pie charts. For descriptive statistics, 51% of the participants were not residents of Santa Ana while the other 49% were. Also, 70% rent a home while the remaining 30% own a home. When asked whether they believe house value in Santa Ana will continue rising, 93% said yes. Also, when asked if they have a plan to buy a house in the city, 72% said no.

Pie chart 2 and 3 shows an array of attitudes on affordable housing available and housing prices in Santa Ana. 30% are dissatisfied with the amount of available, affordable housing, and 29% feel the housing prices are wrong. Both pie charts point to the conclusion that people find the rate of increasing house costs is higher than the rate of affordable housing available which half of the respondents do not like. Another question in the survey asked: if the participant lives and works in Santa Ana, can he or she afford to live in a house without supplemental income such as government assistance, another source of income, and financial support from relatives. Almost 50% of the 32 responses said no, and 22.6% said not applicable, which refers to those respondents in graph one who are from other cities.

Our questions and results are categorical data and to evaluate the relationships between the responses to the specific survey questions, we decided to use a Chi-Square test through the application of SPSS, a software program similar to Microsoft Excel that analyzes numerical data and computes significant values to determine the relationships between specific categories. The Chi-Square statistic yielded a value of 19.743 and a P-value (asymptotic significance) of 0.01. Our understanding of the the-value the been for any given statistical test is if the p-value is less than 0.05, then we reject the null hypothesis. If it is higher, we accept the null hypothesis. Since our value was less than 0.05, we reject our null hypothesis, which is that there is no relation between the rising housing cost in Santa Ana and the city’s rate of affordable housing units to be built. In other words, there is a relation between the two elements. Based on a face evaluation of the figures above, there is a belief that increasing house prices in Santa Ana may decrease the rate at which affordable housing units become available.


Several factors in the research process needed improvement. First, since there was a low number of Santa Ana residents who answered the survey, the sample size had to be broadened to include students from Cal Poly Pomona a population readily available to answer our survey. However, many of them were not from Santa Anainconsistency and, because of that, some answers in our survey were skewed because some questions only directed to people living in Santa Ana were answered by all 32 respondents, which means that either the question was not clear enough or those nonresident responders did not read carefully. Whatever the reason, further improvements can benefit future research similar to this. the

Another constraint found in our research process was the fact that possibly our group conducted two separate surveys at the same time with slightly differing questions. As a reminder, our research question was: does the rise in housing costs affect the rate of affordable housing? One of the two surveys had mostly questions that did not relate to the full scope of our research question. That error possibly and formulating of our questions are avoidable if there had been more time and attention.

As for the implications of this research, it provided valuable insight into the attitudes of Santa Ana residents and possibly another future residents towards the rising housing costs and the rate of affordable housing. Those who answered our survey and were not residents could have provided more insight into their attitudes towards housing where they reside if we had asked them ianother question. That alone provides an opportunity for improvement inbeen future studies. However, based on some early research conducted before starting our survey and data analysis, we found that southern California as a whole, experiences rising housing costs and indeed affects the rate of affordable housing (Khouri, 2018). For example, East Palo Alto is a city where the increase in housing costs increases the rate at which affordable housing is available (for those who qualify and are negatively impacted by the increasing costs). Based on these studies along with our research done on Santa Ana, there is a stronger affirmation that rising rent or house prices in any city in California can affect the rate of affordable housing to some extent or way.

Cite this page

Summary of the Results of the Community Housing Survey. (2022, May 10). Retrieved from

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