Housing

Housing Affordability

Worsened more than 1 percent from
2015 to 2016

How are we doing?

Housing received a thumbs-down because median single-family housing prices in San Diego County increased by 7.2% from 2015 to 2016. This increase was higher than many other major urban counties in California and higher than the state average (3.9%). San Diego County’s housing affordability index remained around 26% in 2016, with little change from 2015. In addition, 41% of homeowners and 57% of renters in San Diego County spend more than 30% of their income on housing. See more information.

Median Single-family Home Price

(select counties and California, 2015-2016)

State/County December 2015 December 2016 Year to Year
Percentage Change
California $489,770 $509,060 3.9%
Los Angeles $502,750 $519,280 3.3%
Orange  $700,000 $745,000 6.4%
Sacramento $296,500 $314,940 6.2%
San Diego $530,000 $568,000 7.2%
San Francisco $1,204,000 $1,315,210 9.2%
Santa Clara $920,000 $965,000 4.9%

San Diego County’s 7.2% increase from 2015 to 2016 for a single-family home was higher than many other major urban counties in California and higher than the state average of 3.9%.

Data Source: California Association of Realtors, Current Sales & Price Statistics, 2017

Why is it important?

  • High housing costs limit disposable income that residents might otherwise spend back into the economy.
  • Housing costs influence our region’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining businesses and a talented workforce.
  • Low housing affordability can drive people to less expensive areas farther away from jobs and services, increasing traffic congestion and air pollution.

The California Association of Realtor’s Housing Affordability Index measures how much of the population has an income higher than the estimated minimum to qualify for a loan for a median-valued home. A higher percent indicates more people can afford to purchase housing. The San Diego County housing affordability index was about 5% lower than the state average, meaning San Diego has less housing affordability compared to the state as a whole.

Data Source: California Association of Realtors, Housing Affordability Index – Traditional, 2017; California Association of Realtors, Housing Affordability Index – Traditional Methodology, 2017

About 41% of homeowners with mortgages and 57% of renters in San Diego County spend more than 30% of their income on housing. This is about 1% higher than the overall California average.

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2016

  Idea for Change

Circulate San Diego’s Transit Oriented Development report recommends an affordable homes bonus program that would provide added development rights if projects incorporate affordable homes. Benefits to developers include space for more units, waivers and a streamlined buying process. They also recommend reducing parking requirements (currently it is one parking space per bedroom) and restructuring fees paid to cover the impact of projects on parks, libraries and schools. Learn more.

  Bright Spot

A part of San Diego (East Village and Barrio Logan in the west to Encanto and Emerald Hills in the east) was designated as a Promise Zone in 2016. This federal designation provides funding for some of the most disadvantaged communities in the United States and pairs federal government partners with local leaders to streamline resources across agencies and deliver comprehensive support for creating jobs, reducing violent crime, increasing educational opportunities, providing better access to quality affordable housing and promoting access to health care. Learn more.

  What are we measuring?

We measure housing affordability by tracking the year-over-year change in median single-family home price. We also track the percentage of households paying more than 30% of their income on housing and report the California Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index, which measures the percentage of households that can afford a median home price at the national average mortgage rate with a standard 20% down payment and typical monthly costs (taxes, mortgage, insurance). Learn more about the data.