Entry Level Housing Affordability at 18 percent in San Francisco

“The percentage of households that could afford to buy an entry-level home in California declined to 18 percent in the first quarter of 2007, compared with 20 percent for the same period a year ago, according to C.A.R.’s First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index (FTB-HAI). The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $704,230 in San Francisco in the first quarter of 2007 was $141,990, based on an adjustable interest rate of 6.3 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment. First-time buyers typically purchase a home equal to 85 percent of the prevailing median price. The monthly payment including taxes and insurance was $4,730 for the first quarter of 2007.”-C.A.R.

It’s amazing to read this kind of information. You’d think it would slow the market down, but we’re really, truly not seeing it. Are you?

C.A.R. Housing Affordability Report [California Association of Realtors]
C.A.R. Housing Affordability Report [en Espanol]

12 thoughts on “Entry Level Housing Affordability at 18 percent in San Francisco

  1. I think 18% is a pretty reasonable %. I would be surprised if it was under 10%. But with 18% of the population able to affoard in SF, that is pretty healthy to me.

  2. spoken like somebody that is quite comfortably in that 18%.

    And I’ve heard, and strongly suspect, that the real number is more like 12%.

  3. Yeah, I still think 12% is pretty reasonable. Think about it. SF is one of the most expensive cities in America to own for obvious reasons. Only those top 10-20% of people who have done well should be able to afford to buy. If everybody was able to buy, then SF wouldn’t be as desirable city.

    Think about the acceptance rates at elite universities (sub 20%), and elite companies (sub 5% acceptance). Why should SF, as a ‘superstar’ city have anything but a low affordability %?

    The greatest irony is about people who don’t have high paying jobs, b/c they didn’t work hard in school, or frankly went to a non Top tier school who complain about prices and not being able to afford. It is not their right to be able to afford. It is their own fault for not studying hard in school, or being motivated enough to get a good job, or outperform in his/her own job. People can always buy in Middle America.

  4. Riiiight. Because everybody knows elite Universities are meritocracies.
    You sound like a medieval baron. Or Marie Antoinette.
    As a fellow 18%-er I don’t share your view that turning SF into a gated community, featuring land owned by a small minority of elites who pass their wealth (and access to quality education) down to each other, while letting the serfs pay tribute in the form of rent while serving them and working their lands.
    If there was more mobility between the classes I would be more inclined to share your viewpoint.
    But right now I think you are [deleted by editor: keep it civil please, or we’ll cut comments out completely].

  5. To Ah Boom,

    I am being a realist. I don’t I know I can’t afford the houses on Broadway and Lyon, and I don’t complain day in and day out on blogs about how $50 million is too expensive. I actually find the wealth fascinating, and look to nicer houses as motivation to do better.

    What, in your opinion is the ‘correct’ affordability level? 30%? 50%? 100%? I firmly believe it is not someone’s right to be able to afford to buy in SF, but it is someone’s right to live here if he or she chooses.

  6. Boom,
    What hole have you crawled out from? You can’t put a sterotype on those who didn’t get into a top-tier school or was not able to obtain a top-tier job. Obviously they didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in their mouths. The majority of working class citizens are very hard working and should deserve a comfortable living in this beautiful city.

  7. Dear Mr. Boom,
    I am completely and utterly bilwidered and appalled by your statment on those who went to a “non Top Tier” school.

    Number 1: I’m a hardworking teacher who stays up to midnight almost every night planning lessons to teach our next generation. I went to SF State because that’s what I could afford working 2 part-time jobs to pay for tuition.

    Number 2: I love my job and I love San Francisco. I would also love one day to own a home here–but my pay does not afford me the opportunity–it only affords me the opportunity of knowing I am making a difference for the next generation.

    Number 3: If everyone who cannot afford to buy in San Francisco moved to “Middle-America”, your kids would be doomed because San Francisco will be no longer have firemen, policemen, yes, and teacher.

    Number 4: Grow up and spit that silver spoon out of your mouth.

  8. It is obvious Mr. Boom never graduated from college. To make such a close-minded, idiotic statment in regards to those who didn’t attend a “top-tier” school really shows a lack of knowledge and a lost touch to reality. Sounds like he’s been living in a little bubble. Yes, time to crawl out from under that hole and face society.

  9. As the editor, I think this conversation is great and good to see. However, let’s try to avoid personal attacks, and discuss the issues. Just choose your words wisely…think like a politician. ;-)


  10. It would be a tragedy if San Francisco ever became a gated city. If only wealthy people who can afford to live in San Francisco, this great city will definitely lose it’s character.
    First off, think about the obvious. If all our working class citizens were forced out, we will no longer have our endless list of ethnic restaurants because there won’t be waiters, waitresses, restaurant workers. Public schools and even Private schools will shut down because teachers earn less than the median wage. The Cable cars and MUNI will stop running because operators earn less than $140k a year. The list goes on…
    But, perhaps that 82% who aren’t wealthy enough to live here will move somewhere in the middle America as Boom suggested and create a “San Francisco” there.
    I say this to say that we’re living in a society that’s not fair. Some earn more and some earn less. Yes, the 18% of those who can afford housing may be “better off”, but they are not “better” than everyone else.
    Part of the reason I love San Francisco is because once I step out my door, I meet people of all ethnicities, income levels, and life experiences–that’s what makes this great city unique and that’s partially why our city is so desirable.
    [editor’s note: You know the little man in the newspaper movie review section that is standing in his chair clapping? Picture us doing that. Very well said, and thanks for commenting. Keep up the great conversation. We appreciate it.]

  11. I agree with Boom’s basic point, but not Boom’s decidedly “un-pc” assumptions about low-earning folks. Why is 18%, or 12% for that matter, not a healthy, normal number?

    I lived and rented and saved in this city for 12 years before finally buying my first home here. It does not surprise me at all that, at any given moment, 85 or 90 percent of folks living here have not been here long enough to yet be able to buy.

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