The Ventura County economy continued to decline last year due to rising housing prices that are pushing families out of the area, according to a report released Thursday by California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting.
The report cited U.S. Commerce Department data showing the county’s total economic output contracted by 0.9 percent in 2016 and 0.4 percent last year. The county’s population grew just 0.3 percent last year, which the Thousand Oaks university attributed to a lack of affordable housing.
“Without substantial improvements in housing affordability, Ventura County’s future is an economy of haves and have nots, of wealthy residents and a large commuter population that enters the county each day to work in low-wage jobs,” the university wrote in a statement accompanying the economic forecast.
The report anticipates the Ventura economy will neither grow nor contract this year, marking a fifth straight year of zero growth.