Report: It takes $333K annual income to buy a house in San Francisco

The California Association of Realtors [CAR] released its Quarterly Housing Affordability report Tuesday and concluded that the recommended yearly salary to buy a house in San Francisco—without potential financial peril—rose to an astounding $333,000-plus, taxes not included.

The Q1 report, which compiled most but not all publicly listed homes in the state from January through the end of March, found that the present median in the city for a single-family home reached $1.61 million.

That’s the same figure estimated by Paragon Real Estate Group in April, so it’s not a surprise. Keep in mind this figure represents asking prices, not sales prices. Alas, that’s the only good news, however, as the home median is up more than $300,000 year over year and roughly $100,000 since the previous quarter.

As usual, numbers were also on the rise almost everywhere in the region, most notably in the South Bay and the along the Peninsula. Here’s the year-over-year breakdown:

  • San Mateo County: $1.57 million (up $270K)
  • Santa Clara County: $1.37 million (up $70K)
  • Marin County: $1.36 million (up $160K)
  • Alameda County: $875K (up $77K).
  • Sonoma County: $681K (up $76K).
  • Napa County: $679K (up $11K)
  • Contra Costa County: $615K (up $53K)
  • Solano County: $430K (up $39K)

Of course, the upward momentum means that the recommended yearly household earnings for going all in and buying a median priced house in the Bay Area also rose.

In San Francisco, that number in 2017 was already $267,130/year. Twelve months later the figure has metamorphosed into an even more intimidating $333,270/year.

823b0 Alisa CH Report: It takes $333K annual income to buy a house in San Francisco

         By Alisa_Ch

Note that CAR calculates this figure by assuming a 20 percent down payment, the current median interest rate, and then applying the time-honored (if incredibly naive seeming) standard of keeping housing payments below 30 percent of household income.

In February of this year, mortgage site HSH recommended $176,121/year for SF homebuyers. However, that estimate includes the possibility of buying a condo instead of single-family homes. It also covers the larger “SF metro area” (i.e., other parts of the Bay Area) rather than the city itself.

In April, the Mayor’s Office of Housing estimated that the median SF income for a single person household is now $82,900/year (again, taxes not included).

In 2016 (the most recent year for which figures are available), the U.S. Census estimated that of 356,797 SF households, only 18.4 percent make at least $200,000/year. There’s unfortunately no census data on what fraction of those also make $300,000/year or more.

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