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Housing Affordability Improves In Seven Bay Area Counties


Housing affordability is improving in California, at least in some counties. Seven of the nine Bay Area counties (with the exception of Napa and Solano counties) recorded improved affordability rates last quarter compared to the previous quarter, according to data from the California Association of Realtors.

Central and Southern California affordability were mixed. Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin and Tulare counties were among those to decline in affordability. Orange, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Cruz, Kern and Kings counties improved in affordability compared to Q2 2016.


The percentage of homeowners able to afford a median-priced home remained steady at 31% while 40% of Californians could purchase a median-priced condo or townhome in the third quarter, based on CAR’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index.

Annual income of over $100k is needed to qualify for a $515k median-priced home, while an income over $80k is needed for monthly payments toward a $418k median-priced condo/townhouse.

During peak affordability in Q2 2012, 56% of Californians could afford a house. Required income levels (as seen in above chart) have doubled since then.


While most Bay Area counties recorded slightly higher affordability levels, San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin remained the least affordable areas in the state. The most affordable counties in the state were Kings at 57% affordability, Kern at 56%, San Bernardino at 55%, and Fresno and Merced at 50%. Affordability rates still have a ways to go before reaching peak affordability as seen above.