California Housing Grows Less Affordable

A recent study from the NAHB reveals that seven out of the 10 most expensive housing markets in the nation are in California

By Rob Fanjoy, Associate Editor | November 30, 1999

A recent study from the NAHB reveals that seven out of the 10 most expensive housing markets in the nation are in California. Despite a booming economy that produces hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year, the cost of owning a home in California is still far out of reach for the average family.


10 Least Affordable Metro Areas
1 San Francisco, Calif.
2 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.
3 Eugene-Springfield, Ore.
4 Santa Rosa, Calif.
5 Laredo, Texas
6 San Jose, Calif.
7 Salinas, Calif.
8 Portland-Vancouver, Wash.
9 San Luis Obispo, Calif.
10 San Diego, Calif.

Affordability is based on median income compared to median home prices. San Francisco is again the nation’s most expensive housing market. A family earning the median income can afford only 21% of the area’s homes.

"The most expensive housing markets are in the areas that have passed growth control initiatives," says Robert Rivinius, chief executive officer of the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), a trade association that represents the state’s homebuilders. "As long as these areas take a restrictive approach to growth, the housing crisis will continue to get worse."

Over the next 25 years, California’s population is expected to grow by 625,000 people annually. The California Department of Finance projects that 250,000 new units per year are needed to keep pace with population growth and new households.

"We need a responsible approach to growth that balances the need for affordable housing with long-term planning, infrastructure investment and environmental protection," says Rivinius

During the current legislative session, CBIA is supporting critical reforms to reduce the costs and increase the availability of homes. These include the development of a statewide infrastructure investment plan and construction defect reform, particularly involving condos and townhomes--the most affordable and land efficient forms of housing.

--Rob Fanjoy

Also See:
Lord & Essex Homes Puts New Spin on Home Buying


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