Ohio is the most affordable state in the nation for home buyers, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors. Using home prices, mortgage costs and median income figures, the trade association concluded that buyers in Ohio have the easiest time affording a home while those in Hawaii and California

What’s the best place to find info/real estate reports on the local Orange County, CA and Inland Empire real estate market?

The usual online suspects, Zillow/Trulia/Redfin, are pretty good for an initial high level scan.  Forget the Zestimates; filter for recent closed transactions.

Don’t bother with realtors.

Obviously, look at the elementary school scores.  This provides a good indication of what the micro-neighborhood is like.  Look at the high school scores for an indication of the wider area.

I’d recommend flying down for a weekend or two and hitting the open houses at the neighborhoods of interest.

Both Irvine and Yorba Linda are “good” in the sense of traditional suburbia.  If this is what you’re looking for, look at the Irvine’s Turtle Ridge neighborhood.

Yorba Linda is interesting.  A big chunk of it, the older 92886, area code is horse property, 1 to 4 acre lots with multi-million dollar custom homes.  A few actually have small vanity vineyards.

The newer 92887 zip is typical SoCal McMansion.  A new planned community is coming up in the Esperanza Hills.  Homes there are probably going to be in the $1.5M to $2M+ range.  In either case, you’ll see horse trails throughout the city.

Irvine is more expensive and crowded simply because it’s closer to employment centers.  Yorba Linda to Irvine is 20 minutes on the 241 and 133 toll roads.  However, Yorba Linda is northerly enough to give semi-reasonable daily access to Pasadena, and Los Angeles city proper.

Both Irvine and Yorba Linda are popular with Chinese investors.  This accounts for a chunk of recent price appreciation.

… interested in buying … a rental property in inland empire.

Well, Corona/Norco/Chino/Chino Hills are going to be the closest to Yorba Linda and Irvine.  I’m not sure whether it still makes sense to buy rentals there though.