|Michael Reibel, professor of geography, talks about the real estate market in the Inland Empire.|
|Stacy McGoldrick, assistant professor of sociology, and Faye Wachs, associate professor of sociology, discuss attitudes toward crime, illegal immigration and police.|
|At the EMPIRE roundtable, Greg Hunter, associate professor of economics, presents the economic results of the survey.|
The Inland Empire's economy, housing market and public safety were at the center of a roundtable discussion on June 4 among academic researchers and sponsors of Cal Poly Pomona's Center for the Study of the Inland Empire.
Led by the center's faculty fellows, the discussion focused on the results of a 1,000-person survey of residents in the Inland Empire. Presenters also offered a few predictions of the region's economic and housing future.
The roundtable, held at Sheraton Suites Fairplex in Pomona, gave the center's sponsors a first glimpse of the results of the phone survey, to which they were able to submit questions. The sponsors include: Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Majestic Reality Co., Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino County Sun, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Fairplex, the city of Pomona, Southern California Edison and the city of Upland.
In the spring of 2009, the Center will host its third annual EMPIRE symposium in which faculty fellows will present their research findings in greater depth to a larger audience.
At the roundtable, Greg Hunter, associate professor of economics, said residents are less confident about the current economy compared to a year ago and are more pessimistic than consumers in other parts of the country. Despite their current pessimism, Inland Empire residents are more optimistic about the future compared to the rest of the country.
Most of the threats to economic growth are limited to the housing and financial sectors, according to Hunter.
“Banks are lending a lot less than before. It's at the lowest levels since 2002,” Hunter said. “Until regulators get together to restore liquidity at the home property level, you won't see a housing rebound.”
Geography professor Michael Reibel's presentation examined the housing market in more depth. Home values are falling as much as 28 percent in some areas, and foreclosures have more than doubled. In addition, sales volumes of existing homes are down anywhere from 13 percent to 31 percent in Southern California.
However, Reibel called the changes in the real estate market a “painful adjustment,” not a freefall. He added that the housing problems could last anywhere from six months to six years.
Stacy McGoldrick, assistant professor of sociology, and Faye Wachs, associate professor of sociology, studied attitudes toward crime, illegal immigration and police. Residents, especially those who live in areas of higher foreclosure rates, feel that crime is on the rise.
In addition, nearly 85 percent of residents view illegal immigration as a serious or extremely serious problem, although many dont distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. In all, their research found a generalized anxiety toward housing, crime and immigration.
The Center's annual symposium will be a half-day event for academic researchers, business people and community leaders to receive comprehensive forecasts of social, political and economic trends in the Inland Empire. Additional faculty fellows include: Sandra Emerson, professor of political science; Juliana Fuqua, assistant professor of psychology; and Carsten Lange, associate professor of economics.
The Center for the Study of the Inland Empire promotes interdisciplinary applied research about the Inland Empire. The research generated by faculty and students in the Center will inform and empower public and private communities in Cal Poly Pomona's service region to make informed decisions on issues related to the region's social, economic and political development.