We've long heard that home ownership is out of reach for many in the Bay Area, and this report about prices, affordability and monthly cost will do nothing to change that opinion. But there are steps one can take instead of giving up.
Gathering data from the California Association of Realtors, Compass statistician Patrick Carlisle breaks it down into understandable language and graphics. These figures take into account median home sale prices (see first chart, above) and prevailing mortgage rates in the second quarter of 2019. They assume a 20 percent down payment and also includes taxes and insurance in monthly costs.
When qualifying income over $343,000 per year is needed to buy a median priced home in San Francisco, with monthly payments hovering around $8,580, it's not surprising that many people look elsewhere. Next door neighbor, San Mateo County, is only negligibly less costly, and slightly less are the counties of Marin (across the Golden Gate Bridge) and Santa Clara (think Silicon Valley.) Even condominiums in San Francisco are costly.
Other parts of the greater Bay Area are more affordable. The upscale communities of Orinda and Moraga are options for some buyers and are somewhat more affordable. An income over $270,000 might be needed, but the homes are larger.
Generally speaking, the further from San Francisco one goes, the less costly homes become. Solano County, with a median home price of $445,000, is affordable for those making under $100,000/year.
As mortgage rates drop the picture brightens a bit, and if one is able to put more than 20% down (very common here) the picture brightens even more.
Given the above, if you are thinking of making a purchase, you can see why it is vital to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent and mortgage advisory with whom to engage in some strategic thinking so your dream of home ownership can be realized. It is possible; people do it every day.