San Francisco and San Mateo counties rank as the two most unaffordable regions of California. According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), only 10 percent of San Francisco County residents can afford the area’s median priced, existing home, which currently stands at nearly $1.25 million. In San Mateo, 13 percent of households can afford a median priced home, which is also $1.25 million.

  • In only one Bay Area county is affordability above 25 percent.
  • Affordability issues are pushing some people outside of San Francisco and Alameda counties into outer counties like Solano.
  • Nearly every county in the Bay Area has a median home price that exceeds $600,000.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties rank as the two most unaffordable regions of California.

According to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), only 10 percent of San Francisco County residents can afford the area’s median priced, existing home, which currently stands at nearly $1.25 million. In San Mateo, 13 percent of households can afford a median priced home, which also $1.25 million.

Homebuyers in San Francisco County need to earn a minimum annual income of $251,980 to qualify for the purchase of a median priced home. Their monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $6,300. This assumes a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.16 percent.

In San Mateo, potential buyers must earn $252,230 to qualify for a median home purchase and would make a $6,310 monthly payment.

Affordability in other Bay Area counties is not much better. In Marin, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties, roughly 19 percent of households can afford a median priced home. Affordable percentages for Alameda, Napa and Sonoma counties are 20 percent, 21 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

During the third quarter, housing affordability improved only in Marin county. CAR cites a combination of plateauing home prices and continuing wage growth as the reasons for the improvement.

While housing affordability held steady in Napa at 21 percent, affordability dropped on a year-over-year basis in every other Bay Area county.

“Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma, experienced significant affordability drops as homebuyers looking for more affordable homes moved to outlying counties and drove home prices higher,” CAR stated.

Only outlying Solano county represents an affordable option in the Bay, with roughly 44 percent of home buyers able to afford the county’s $361,880 median priced home. The county’s primary cities are Vallejo, Fairfield and Vacaville.

Email Erik Pisor

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