In the Bay Area, “affordable housing” is relative

In Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where home prices are high, affordability takes on a different meaning, a new study shows
June 06, 2019 04:00PM

Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale and San Francisco

Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale and San Francisco

Housing has become “more affordable” in some major metro areas across the country over the last year, including some unlikely places like the notoriously expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

But what does affordable mean?

In Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, it means that higher incomes among top earners have made purchasing a high-priced home more of a reality, according to Mansion Global, citing date from Realtor.com.

Activity in the housing market surged earlier this year as buyers looked to lock down a purchase before others flooded in.

The biggest rise in affordability was in San Jose-Sunnyvale, California, where the median asking price was $1.17 million. Next on the list was Des Moines, Iowa, which was substantially lower at $288,000. And third was the San Francisco Bay Area, whose median asking price was $954,000.

Dallas and Austin also saw rises in affordability despite rising prices. That was to lower mortgage rates, higher wages, and high inventory, according to Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Meanwhile, home prices have stagnated and in some cases dropped over the last few months in the Los Angeles area. The median price in L.A. County dropped about 3 percent from February to March, to $525,520.

Housing remains unaffordable across most of the country. As of March, the average annual wage was not enough to afford a median-priced home in more than 70 percent of U.S. counties. [Mansion Global]Dennis Lynch