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Basically, Nothing in the Bay Area is Affordable to Someone Making $64,000

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Oakland, and the Bay Area in general, is one of the areas hit hardest by California's housing shortage. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

We all know it’s expensive to live in the Bay Area. But just how unaffordable is it? Reporters with the Mercury News and the East Bay Times looked at how high rents and mortgages have climbed since 2012, and it will blow your mind. People making $100,000 can afford to live in just 28 percent of Bay Area neighborhoods. And if  you’re making less than $64,000, you basically have no options.

Guest: Katy Murphy, Bay Area News Group government reporter

What findings surprised her the most:

“There was nowhere last year where you could afford the median rent for an apartment on anything less than $64,000 a year… Even if you had two people working minimum wage jobs that paid $15 an hour – which is the minimum wage in some places – you still would not make enough to afford the median rent for an apartment anywhere in the 10 county Bay Area.”

Houses line a street in the Mission District of San Francisco. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)



How things have changed since 2012, when house prices had dropped post-recession:

“If you’re making $100,000 in today’s wages back in 2012, you could afford to live in 70 percent of the zip codes in the Bay Area, if you are a renter… If you look at Redwood City where, in 2012 you could afford a mortgage payment on a home there on less than $90,000. And now, or as of last year, you would have needed over $200,000 to be able to afford, basically the same home… that’s down payment aside. That’s just the mortgage payment.”

How this is playing out around the Bay Area:

“We had 13 zip codes in Oakland that we looked at… the cheapest place to rent in Oakland was about $2,400 a month last year. Oakland is one of the places that have seen the biggest run ups in rents.”

Traffic in Redwood City, where the income needed to afford a mortgage payment on a home has risen from $90,000 per year in 2012 to over $200,000 in 2018. (James Tensuan/KQED)

On how this affects families in particular:

“I was also thinking about: well, what about single parents? You know, I mean it’s almost like these numbers have gotten so high that you need two incomes… to be able to buy anything. So what happens to people who have children, but also just have one income?”

To read Katy’s The Price We Pay report and to see the map and affordability calculator, click here.

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