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california housing affordability by county 4th quarter 2017 graphic credit car
  • Twenty-nine percent of California households could afford to purchase the $550,990 median-priced home in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 28 percent in third-quarter 2017 but down from 31 percent in fourth-quarter 2016.

  • A minimum annual income of $111,260 was needed to make monthly payments of $2,780, including principal, interest, and taxes on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at a 4.17 percent interest rate.
  • Thirty-seven percent of home buyers were able to purchase the $449,720 median-priced condo or townhome. An annual income of $90,810 was required to make a monthly payment of $2,270.

April 3, 2018 - LOS ANGELES - After hitting a 10-year low in third-quarter 2017, slightly lower home prices and steady mortgage rates allowed more Californians to purchase a home in the fourth quarter of 2017, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said last month.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in fourth-quarter 2017 edged up to 29 percent from 28 percent in the third quarter of 2017 but was down from 31 percent in the fourth quarter a year ago, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI). This is the 19th consecutive quarter that the index has been below 40 percent. California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

C.A.R.’s HAI measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California. C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state. The index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for homebuyers in the state.

A minimum annual income of $111,260 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $550,990 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the fourth quarter of 2017. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $2,780, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.17 percent. The effective composite interest rate in third-quarter 2017 was 4.16 percent and 3.91 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

Conversely, the affordability of condominiums and townhomes dipped in fourth-quarter 2017 compared to the previous quarter with 37 percent of California households earning the minimum income to qualify for the purchase of a $449,720 median-priced condominium/townhome, down from 38 percent in the third quarter. An annual income of $90,810 was required to make monthly payments of $2,270. Thirty-eight percent of households could afford to purchase the $446,800 priced condo or townhome in third-quarter 2017.

Key points from the fourth-quarter 2017 Housing Affordability report include:

  • At the other end of the spectrum, Los Angeles, Madera, and Mariposa/Tuolumne were the most improved counties on a quarterly basis, with each of the counties climbing 3 percentage points from the previous quarter.
  • Five of nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Region recorded an affordability index of 20 or lower during the fourth quarter. Only Solano and Contra Costa counties posted an improvement in affordability, while Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sonoma declined.
  • Housing affordability increased in 14 counties (Contra Costa, Solano, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced, Tulare, El Dorado, Humboldt, Mariposa/Tuolumne, Siskiyou, Sutter).
  • Fourteen counties experienced a decline in housing affordability from the third quarter (Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, San Bernardino, Ventura, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus, Butte County, Lake County, Shasta, and Yuba). Lake, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara counties dipped the most from the third quarter with each of them dropping two percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Housing affordability was unchanged in 15 counties (Alameda, Marin, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Kings, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, Amador, Mendocino, Tehama, Yolo).
  • During the fourth quarter of 2017, the most affordable counties in California were Tehama (56 percent), Kern (54 percent), and Sutter, Tulare, and Kings, (all at 52 percent).
  • San Francisco (12 percent), San Mateo (14 percent), and Santa Clara (15 percent) counties were the least affordable areas in the state.

Housing Affordability slides (click link to open)

Affordability peak versus current 
Annual required income peak vs. current
PITI peak versus current
CA housing affordability by quarter (2006-2017)
Housing affordability by county

See C.A.R.’s historical housing affordability data.
See first-time buyer housing affordability data.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than190,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Traditional Housing Affordability Index
Fourth Quarter 2017

C.A.R. Region

Housing 
Affordability Index

Median Home 
Price

Monthly Payment Including Taxes & Insurance

Minimum 
Qualifying Income

Calif. Single-family home

29

$ 550,990

$ 2,780

$ 111,260

Calif. Condo/Townhome

37

$ 449,720

$ 2,270

$ 90,810

Los Angeles Metro Area

31

$ 496,250

$ 2,510

$ 100,210

Inland Empire

43

$ 340,000

$ 1,720

$ 68,650

San Francisco Bay Area

21

$ 895,000

$ 4,520

$ 180,720

United States

56

$ 247,800

$ 1,250

$ 50,040

         

San Francisco Bay Area

       

Alameda

20

$ 867,250

$ 4,380

$ 175,120

Contra-Costa (Central County)

34

$ 612,000

$ 3,090

$ 123,580

Marin

18

$ 1,250,000

$ 6,310

$ 252,410

Napa

25

$ 675,000

$ 3,410

$ 136,300

San Francisco

12

$ 1,501,500

$ 7,580

$ 303,190

San Mateo

14

$ 1,500,000

$ 7,570

$ 302,890

Santa Clara

15

$ 1,270,000

$ 6,410

$ 256,450

Solano

44

$ 415,000

$ 2,090

$ 83,800

Sonoma

23

$ 655,000

$ 3,310

$ 132,260

Southern California

       

Los Angeles

25

$ 553,330

$ 2,790

$ 111,730

Orange County

21

$ 785,000

$ 3,960

$ 158,510

Riverside County

38

$ 385,000

$ 1,940

$ 77,740

San Bernardino

50

$ 276,250

$ 1,390

$ 55,780

San Diego

26

$ 610,000

$ 3,080

$ 123,170

Ventura

26

$ 640,000

$ 3,230

$ 129,230

Central Coast

       

Monterey

21

$ 599,950

$ 3,030

$ 121,150

San Luis Obispo

24

$ 594,330

$ 3,000

$ 120,010

Santa Barbara

18

$ 710,000

$ 3,580

$ 143,370

Santa Cruz

17

$ 855,000

$ 4,320

$ 172,650

Central Valley

       

Fresno

46

$ 259,900

$ 1,310

$ 52,480

Kern (Bakersfield)

54

$ 233,250

$ 1,180

$ 47,100

Kings County

52

$ 225,000

$ 1,140

$ 45,430

Madera

47

$ 243,950

$ 1,230

$ 49,260

Merced

48

$ 250,000

$ 1,260

$ 50,480

Placer County

44

$ 453,750

$ 2,290

$ 91,620

Sacramento

43

$ 349,900

$ 1,770

$ 70,650

San Benito

31

$ 552,000

$ 2,790

$ 111,460

San Joaquin

41

$ 349,950

$ 1,770

$ 70,660

Stanislaus

45

$ 298,250

$ 1,510

$ 60,220

Tulare

52

$ 220,000

$ 1,110

$ 44,420

Other Calif. Counties

       

Amador

44

$ 325,000

$ 1,640

$ 65,630

Butte County

39

$ 308,500

$ 1,560

$ 62,290

El Dorado County

42

$ 455,000

$ 2,300

$ 91,880

Humboldt

34

$ 310,500

$ 1,570

$ 62,700

Lake County

36

$ 265,000

$ 1,340

$ 53,510

Mariposa and Tuolumne

48

$ 291,750

$ 1,470

$ 58,910

Mendocino

28

$ 389,500

$ 1,970

$ 78,650

Shasta

47

$ 255,000

$ 1,290

$ 51,490

Siskiyou County

51

$ 198,500

$ 1,000

$ 40,080

Sutter

52

$ 275,000

$ 1,390

$ 55,530

Tehama

56

$ 210,000

$ 1,060

$ 42,400

Yolo

34

$ 434,950

$ 2,200

$ 87,830

Yuba

42

$ 272,500

$ 1,380

$ 55,020


CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Traditional Housing Affordability Index
Fourth Quarter 2017

STATE/REGION/COUNTY

4th Qtr 2017

3rd Qtr 2017

 

4th Qtr

2016

 

Calif. single-family home

29

28

 

31

 

Calif. Condo/Townhome

37

38

 

40

 

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area

31

30

 

34

 

Inland Empire

43

43

 

46

 

San Francisco Bay Area

21

23

 

25

 

United States

56

55

 

58

 
           

San Francisco Bay Area

         

Alameda

20

20

 

22

r

Contra-Costa (Central County)

34

33

 

39

 

Marin

18

18

 

20

 

Napa

25

26

 

26

 

San Francisco

12

13

 

13

 

San Mateo

14

15

 

15

 

Santa Clara

15

17

 

22

 

Solano

44

43

 

45

 

Sonoma

23

25

 

26

 

Southern California

         

Los Angeles

25

22

 

28

 

Orange County

21

21

 

22

 

Riverside County

38

38

 

41

 

San Bernardino

50

51

 

54

 

San Diego

26

26

 

27

 

Ventura

26

27

 

33

r

Central Coast

         

Monterey

21

22

 

27

 

San Luis Obispo

24

23

 

27

 

Santa Barbara

18

20

 

21

 

Santa Cruz

17

17

 

17

 

Central Valley

         

Fresno

46

45

 

49

r

Kern (Bakersfield)

54

53

 

55

 

Kings County

52

52

 

56

 

Madera

47

44

r

49

 

Merced

48

47

 

48

 

Placer County

44

44

 

47

 

Sacramento

43

43

 

46

 

San Benito

31

31

 

34

r

San Joaquin

41

41

 

44

 

Stanislaus

45

46

 

48

 

Tulare

52

51

 

49

 

Other Calif. Counties

         

Amador

44

44

 

50

 

Butte County

39

40

 

41

 

El Dorado County

42

41

 

39

 

Humboldt

34

33

 

40

 

Lake County

36

38

 

44

 

Mariposa and Tuolumne

48

45

 

51

 

Mendocino

28

28

 

32

 

Shasta

47

48

 

46

 

Siskiyou County

51

49

 

53

 

Sutter

52

51

 

52

 

Tehama

56

56

 

60

 

Yolo

34

34

 

37

 

Yuba

42

43

 

45

 

r = revised
Source: C.A.R.

California Real Estate News



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