R.C., Fontana spurred growth
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Created: 03/12/2011 11:09:52 PM PST

Growth in those areas and across the Inland Empire came largely because of affordable homes sold in the first half of the decade, said Brad Kemp, director of regional research at Beacon Economics.

“It was all about relative affordability,” Kemp said. “As Inland Empire houses became more affordable, you watched the population really boom.”

That was true for the entire county, but especially the High Desert, where growth was between two and four times greater than the county as a whole. Victorville expanded by 81 percent, Adelanto by 75 percent.

“When you have 21 million people down the hill from Ventura to San Diego and they were priced out of the American dream, this was the only place they could afford to buy,” said Joseph Brady, president of The Bradco Cos., a Victorville-based commercial real estate firm. “We had the most affordable new housing and the most affordable resale housing in the state of California.”

John Husing, an economist who studies the Inland Empire, said most growth happened wherever there was undeveloped land.

“Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino – there’s not a lot of dirt left,” he said. “But by the time you got to 2000, there was still land left in Rancho, and even more so in Fontana.”

While cities like Upland and Montclair developed years ago as suburbs of the Los Angeles region, and cities in the East Valley were built up in the days when San Bernardino’s Norton Air Force was still an employment hub, Fontana and Rancho were in a kind of no man’s land.

With the exception of Rancho Cucamonga, growth was slower in the West Valley than in other parts of the county.

Montclair grew by 11 percent – just a bit more than California’s overall 10 percent – and Upland grew by just 8 percent. Across the county line, Claremont grew by just under 3 percent – adding fewer than 1,000 people – and Pomona shrank by more than 400 people – a decrease of less than 1 percent.

San Bernardino, Colton, Redlands and Rialto all grew much more slowly than the county overall, but cities to the east had above-average growth.

Twentynine Palms grew by 70 percent, Yucaipa by 25 percent and Yucca Valley by 23percent.

To read entire story, click here.