Bay Area counties make expensive housing list

April 10, 2008 12:36:16 PM PDT
San Mateo County has dropped from the second most expensive jurisdiction for housing in the nation to the fourth, according to a new National Low-Income Housing Coalition report that was released this week. The 2008 "Out of Reach" report compares housing costs to local incomes in housing markets nationwide, according to the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County. San Mateo, Marin and San Francisco counties are tied for fourth place because the federal government groups them together under one statistical area. "This 'improvement' in San Mateo County's ranking is cold comfort for employees of local businesses and schools who need a place to live," council executive director Chris Mohr said. The report calculates the hourly wage needed for local rents to be affordable, according to the coalition. The wage required by a resident renting a two-bedroom apartment and only spending 30 percent of their income on housing is $30.62 per hour. "Although the housing market has slowed and purchase prices in some areas have come down, rents have continued to increase," Mohr said. "The fact remains that housing is still unaffordable for many people who work or grow up in our county." The council would like to see more affordable housing built in urban areas so residents can save on gas by using local transit, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as being able to afford rent.