It’s urban flight flipped on its head: The number of low- and middle-income residents in San Francisco is shrinking as the wealthy population swells, a trend most experts attribute to the city’s exorbitant housing costs.
Many worry it’s increasingly turning San Francisco into an enclave of the rich, where nurses, firefighters, cops, teachers and other professionals aspiring toward homeownership or in need of cheaper rent can no longer afford to stay.
From 2002 to 2006, the number of households making up to $49,000 per year dropped by 7.4 percent, those earning between $50,000 and $99,999 declined by 4.4 percent, and those bringing home between $100,000 and $149,999 fell by 3.9 percent, according to Census Bureau estimates. In polar opposition, the number of households making between $150,000 and $199,999 surged 52.2 percent and those earning more than $200,000 climbed 40.1 percent.
Since 2002, the median price for all San Francisco home types has risen 113.5 percent to $790,000, according to DataQuick Information Systems. While the housing slump has dragged down values by more than a third in some parts of the region, it’s only nudged prices in the city down 5.4 percent from their peak.
A San Francisco household requires an annual income of $196,878 to afford a median-priced home in the city, according to a February report from the California Budget Project, a liberal research and advocacy group.
Rents have also climbed rapidly. In the first quarter, San Francisco was, as always, the most expensive Bay Area city for renters, according to RealFacts of Novato. The average for all apartment types stood at $2,326 in the first quarter, up nearly 25 percent from 2002 and 14.4 percent from a year ago.
All I can say is “Thank Goodness”.
Once in a while, Burbed wakes up at night drenched in sweat because of a nightmare. The nightmare? That the San Francisco Bay Area is no longer special.
Thanks to this article, I can sleep soundly again.
It’s hard to believe that people would actually lament the fact that San Francisco, and by extension, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Menlo Park, and the rest of the Real Bay Area are fast catching up to Manhattan. If anything, we should also hope that one day we can exceed Manhattan and claim our rightful place on the unaffordabiltiy chart.
That said, this article has a clear gaffe – some firefighters and cops can definitely afford to live in the Bay Area. In much of the South Bay, these folks, along with Bus Drivers easily clear $100k a year. I don’t know much about SF cops – perhaps they don’t get paid as well? Perhaps they should try working in the South Bay instead…
At the end of the day, do you really want to live in a place where people can easily afford houses, and not have to pay for private school? What kind of values would that teach to your children? That life is easy? Is that really what you want?
Keep your eyes on the stars folks, the Bay Area is going to take back off again in 2009!