The most — and least — affordable housing markets for workers
Doctors make bank — and even they can’t afford the Bay Area.
Doctors can afford to buy at least half of the homes in every major housing market in America, except one: San Francisco. While the typical doctor in the Bay Area makes $208,000, they’re facing median home prices of $1,249,000, among the highest in that nation. The sky high prices mean that only about 42% of the homes in the area are affordable to doctors, according to an analysis of housing affordability released Wednesday by real estate firm Trulia.
San Francisco stands in a category all its own. It’s sky high real estate prices are thanks to its small area with a limited number of homes, as well as lots of buyers with very high incomes, says Dennis Cisterna of real estate site Investability. The second least-affordable market is Ventura County, Calif. but doctors there can afford 56% of the area’s homes. San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Orange County, Long Island, San Diego and Oklahoma City round out the top 10.
Obviously, the housing crunch is even worse for people who make less than doctors. The typical worker in America makes about $37,000 a year, but the typical home now costs more than $254,000. That means that a worker would have to spend 42% of their income on mortgage payments to buy that home — which is way more than most experts recommend. (The government, for one, says that “families who pay more than 30% of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”.)
In some professions, the issue of housing affordability is particularly acute. Restaurant workers face the greatest challenges affording a home, as their wages hover just above $20,000 a year; they can afford fewer than 10% of the homes for sale in the majority of the major markets in America.
Teachers, firefighters and cops also struggle mightily, the Trulia data showed. Of these 93 major markets, there were 14 where teachers could afford less than 25% of the available homes; for first responders like cops and firefighters, there were 13 where they could afford less than 25% of the available homes.
But there are some bright spots, even for restaurants workers, teachers, cops and firefighters. In the Rust Belt housing prices tend to be far more affordable than other areas of the country and many times wages for these professionals are also decent there, which makes that area a good option for them to buy, explains Cheryl Young, Trulia’s chief economist.
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