san francisco homes
Super cute houses you will never own. Photo: Ian Ransley, via Flickr

Since childhood, we’ve all been playing house, whether with a Barbie dream home or a tree house. This desire to have a place of our own persists, as we age and fantasize about a day when we won’t have to deal with creepy landlords. But, if a new report by financial publisher HSH Associates is to be believed, that day might never come for most San Franciscans.

The survey looked into how much one would need to earn in order to afford payments on a median-priced home, and found that San Francisco is the most out-of-reach urban area in the country with a salary of $137,129. Rounding out the top 3 were San Diego and New York City, with $98,534 and $89,788 respectively. Check out the full results (if you can stomach it):

  • richensf

    Until cities and policymakers within the five-county Bay Area region begin to recognize the need to produce an equal amount of housing units for each of the tens of thousands of new jobs they create every year, the cost of living in the Bay Area will continue to rise and San Francisco will continue to be at the forefront of this trend because it is and will always be the most desirable city for young and ambitious people working in this region to live in regardless of where their office is located. Scarcity of real estate is being forced down our throats by anti-density, anti-growth NIMBY groups, including the property owners who stand to benefit and even the renters who suffer most by it.

    The only real solution for bucking this trend is to increase density along the principles of smart growth infill development and urban renewal by investing in mass infrastructure to support density, reevaluating zoning and height restrictions along major transit corridors, reforming affordable housing policy to recognize and include the middle class, and allowing builders to meet demand with much needed supply. Focusing on red herrings like Ellis Act evictions and tech shuttles, which are statistically insignificant when taken into context, will only ensure that the cost of living in the Bay Area will get worse and worse, as it has for decades.

    • Haw Haw

      Yeah, we have sooooooo much water and sooooo much unused park land that can go to build your over-priced prison condos.

      These developer clucks make it sound like all you need to do is build build build and all will be okay. Their short-sighted, money-grubbing clucking masks any real solution to proper city planning that actually makes sense.

      Some people need to read a book.

      • richensf

        The great irony here is that the smart growth infill development and urban renewal strategy that I am proposing is the most sustainable solution to managing human population growth. Perhaps you should get a library card and research the terms “smart growth”, “infill development”, and “urban renewal” since they are unfamiliar to you. While I continue to read great books on a daily basis, you should try slowly rereading what I said for I did not advocate for the suburban sprawl development that you are clearly describing. I live in the most densely populated neighborhood of San Francisco. It’s likely that my living situation is much more sustainable than yours.

        • Haw Haw

          The “great irony here” is that you are a ‘know-it-all’ who really knows nothing about how the real world operates.

          Go play your Farmville games if you want to play city planner. Your mental capacity is more suited to the ‘pay and play’ junior league crowd.

          Have fun. :)

          • richensf

            Since you have nothing of substance to offer anyone here, I will stop wasting everyone’s time pretending like you are interested in having a discussion like a grown adult and let you get back to fawning over your own reflection. The readers here already have plenty to determine who of us is really full it.

  • HaNo2

    The median price of a San Francisco home is not $679K, It is $925K

  • ccmmllee

    i use to live in the “less yellow” house for less than 500$ a month. though this is the exception not that rule, I must say that as a young twenty something freshly out of college working in americorps (for free basically), finding affordable housing is actually possible, despite the difficulty. networking, living cheaply, and being creative and informed about programs and alternative options are often underrated, especially in san francisco. choose your pictures and statistics wisely :)

  • Mrs.Phelan

    The average salary of a SF fireperson is $140,000. You don’t need a college degree (you do need to be a paramedic) You have far better benefits than private sector jobs (unless you are the CEO, CFO etc.) $140K is very reachable for a couple – 911 operators average $90,000 a year (plus those great benefits). School teachers start off low about $49,000 but within 10 years they’re are up to $80,000 topping out at about $92,000. Also when starting out teachers can work summers to supplement their salaries. These posts empower the whiners in SF. I’m a nurse (starting at about $90,000 a year, within 3 years up to $110,000, extra shifts to save for that down payment $140,000) and I own a home. Vis Valley paid $765K in 2014, 5 bedroom (3 are very small) 3 baths.


Emmanuel Hapsis

Emmanuel Hapsis is the creator and editor of KQED Pop and also the host of The Cooler. He studied creative writing at University of Maryland and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. In his free time, he sings his heart out at karaoke.

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