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  • Thirty-one percent of California households could afford to purchase the $607,040 median-priced home in the fourth quarter of 2019, unchanged from third-quarter 2019 and up from 28 percent a year ago.
  • A minimum annual income of $119,600 was needed to make monthly payments of $2,990, including principal, interest and taxes on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at a 3.89 percent interest rate.

  • Forty-one percent of home buyers were able to purchase the $480,000 median-priced condo or townhome. An annual income of $94,400 was required to make a monthly payment of $2,360.

February 18, 2020 - LOS ANGELES – Slightly higher mortgage interest rates offset steady home prices and held California housing affordability constant during the fourth quarter of 2019. However, more Californians could afford a home purchase compared to a year ago, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reports.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in fourth-quarter 2019 was unchanged from the third quarter of 2019 at 31 percent but was up from 28 percent in the fourth quarter a year ago, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI). California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the fourth 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 home buyers in the state.

A minimum annual income of $119,600 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $607,040 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the fourth quarter of 2019. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $2,990, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 3.89 percent. The effective composite interest rate was 3.85 percent in third-quarter 2019 and 4.95 percent a year ago.

Housing affordability for condominiums and townhomes also improved from a year ago but decreased compared to the third quarter of 2019 because of higher median condominium prices. Forty-one percent of California households earned the minimum income to qualify for the purchase of a $480,000 median-priced condominium/townhome, down from 43 percent in the previous quarter. An annual income of $94,400 was required to make monthly payments of $2,360. Thirty-seven percent of households could afford to buy a condominium/townhome a year ago.

Compared with California, more than half of the nation’s households (57 percent) could afford to purchase a $274,900 median-priced home, which required a minimum annual income of $54,000 to make monthly payments of $1,350.

Key points from the fourth-quarter 2019 Housing Affordability report include:

  • When compared to a year ago, housing affordability improved in 44 tracked counties and declined in four counties. Affordability remained flat in one county.
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, affordability improved from fourth-quarter 2018 in every county. San Francisco County was the least affordable, with just 18 percent of households able to purchase the $1,600,000 median-priced home. Forty-seven percent of Solano County households could afford the $460,000 median-priced home, making it the most affordable Bay Area county.
  • Affordability also improved in all Southern California regions, with Orange County being the least affordable (26 percent) and San Bernardino County being the most affordable (51 percent).
  • All counties in the Central Valley region experienced an increase in affordability from a year ago. San Benito County (34 percent) was the least affordable and Kings County (55 percent) was the most affordable.
  • Housing affordability improved in three of four counties in the Central Coast region with Santa Cruz experiencing the biggest improvement in affordability — jumping to 21 percent in fourth-quarter 2019 from 12 percent a year ago. Santa Barbara County was the only county in the region with a year-over-year decline in affordability, with the index dipping to 23 percent in fourth-quarter 2019 from 26 percent a year ago.
  • During the fourth quarter of 2019, the most affordable counties in California were Lassen (63 percent), Kings (55 percent) and Tulare and Plumas (52 percent). The minimum annual income needed to qualify for a home in these counties was less than $54,000.
  • San Francisco (18 percent), San Mateo (20 percent) and Santa Cruz (21 percent) counties were the least affordable areas in the state. San Francisco County required the highest minimum qualifying income in the entire state. An annual income of $314,800 was needed to purchase a home in San Francisco County.
  • San Mateo County also required an annual income exceeding $300,000 to purchase a median-priced home.

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 than 200,000 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 2019

STATE/REGION/COUNTY

4th Qtr.

2019

3rd Qtr. 2019

 

4th Qtr.

2018

 

Median Home Price

Monthly Payment Including Taxes & Insurance

Minimum Qualifying Income

Calif. Single-family home

31

31

 

28

 

$607,040

$2,990

$119,600

Calif. Condo/Townhome

41

43

 

37

 

$480,000

$2,360

$94,400

Los Angeles Metro Area

33

33

 

30

 

$550,000

$2,710

$108,400

Inland Empire

44

44

 

40

 

$380,000

$1,870

$74,800

San Francisco Bay Area

28

29

 

22

 

$925,000

$4,550

$182,000

United States

57

56

 

54

 

$274,900

$1,350

$54,000

                 

San Francisco Bay Area

               

Alameda

27

26

 

20

 

$905,000

$4,450

$178,000

Contra Costa

39

39

 

33

 

$662,500

$3,260

$130,400

Marin

22

22

 

19

 

$1,325,000

$6,520

$260,800

Napa

30

29

 

25

 

$715,100

$3,520

$140,800

San Francisco

18

18

 

15

 

$1,600,000

$7,870

$314,800

San Mateo

20

20

 

15

 

$1,550,000

$7,620

$304,800

Santa Clara

22

22

 

18

 

$1,246,000

$6,130

$245,200

Solano

47

47

 

39

 

$460,000

$2,260

$90,400

Sonoma

30

28

 

23

 

$656,360

$3,230

$129,200

Southern California

               

Los Angeles

27

25

 

24

 

$617,310

$3,040

$121,600

Orange

26

25

 

20

 

$828,000

$4,070

$162,800

Riverside

41

41

 

37

 

$420,000

$2,070

$82,800

San Bernardino

51

51

 

48

 

$318,000

$1,560

$62,400

San Diego

29

29

 

24

 

$655,000

$3,220

$128,800

Ventura

31

30

 

29

 

$660,000

$3,250

$130,000

Central Coast

               

Monterey

24

24

 

21

 

$655,000

$3,220

$128,800

San Luis Obispo

29

27

 

22

 

$617,000

$3,030

$121,200

Santa Barbara

23

22

 

26

 

$696,250

$3,420

$136,800

Santa Cruz

21

22

 

12

 

$883,000

$4,340

$173,600

Central Valley

               

Fresno

49

49

 

46

 

$289,000

$1,420

$56,800

Kern

50

51

 

53

 

$260,000

$1,280

$51,200

Kings

55

55

 

50

 

$255,000

$1,250

$50,000

Madera

51

52

 

47

 

$290,900

$1,430

$57,200

Merced

49

49

 

40

 

$280,000

$1,380

$55,200

Placer

49

48

 

42

 

$495,500

$2,440

$97,600

Sacramento

45

45

 

42

 

$385,000

$1,890

$75,600

San Benito

34

35

 

28

 

$600,000

$2,950

$118,000

San Joaquin

45

44

 

38

 

$380,000

$1,870

$74,800

Stanislaus

48

48

 

45

 

$335,000

$1,650

$66,000

Tulare

52

51

 

47

 

$250,000

$1,230

$49,200

Other Calif. Counties

               

Amador

49

49

 

45

r

$320,000

$1,570

$62,800

Butte

39

38

 

34

 

$350,000

$1,720

$68,800

Calaveras

47

49

 

45

 

$349,000

$1,720

$68,800

El Dorado

45

42

 

42

 

$481,000

$2,370

$94,800

Humboldt

38

37

 

33

 

$325,000

$1,600

$64,000

Lake

45

47

 

40

 

$275,000

$1,350

$54,000

Lassen

63

64

 

66

 

$215,000

$1,060

$42,400

Mariposa

45

44

 

38

 

$309,500

$1,520

$60,800

Mendocino

29

30

 

23

 

$415,000

$2,040

$81,600

Mono

26

17

 

12

 

$570,000

$2,800

$112,000

Nevada

40

41

 

35

 

$430,000

$2,120

$84,800

Plumas

52

46

 

42

 

$275,000

$1,350

$54,000

Shasta

48

47

 

45

 

$285,000

$1,400

$56,000

Siskiyou

50

51

 

50

 

$230,000

$1,130

$45,200

Sutter

46

47

 

44

 

$317,450

$1,560

$62,400

Tehama

45

46

 

46

 

$261,500

$1,290

$51,600

Tuolumne

51

49

 

48

 

$289,000

$1,420

$56,800

Yolo

40

39

 

37

 

$459,950

$2,260

$90,400

Yuba

47

48

 

44

 

$305,000

$1,500

$60,000

r = revised
Source: C.A.R.



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