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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Buying a House in San Francisco? Here's What Your Salary Should Be.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Too much, too much, too much...
  • Too much, too much, too much...

When queried by curious neighbors, family members, or solicitors how much they paid for their residence, every last recent San Francisco homebuyer has a built-in answer: Too much. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price here is now $682,410. So, how much do you have to earn to pay too much? Answer: A lot. 

Exact answer: $115,510.06. The six cents is, apparently, important. 

That's the calculation reached by the website, which tabulated the salary one must pull down in order to afford the median-priced home in 25 cities. 

Congratulations! You're gonna put 20 percent down. You're gonna have a "standard 28 percent 'front-end' debt ratio." And your salary will, in actuality, have to be much higher to pay taxes, furnish the place, and squander your remaining savings on food and heat. 

Oh, you're gonna pay too much. Here's how much of a salary it takes to afford a median-priced home in those 25 bergs: 

1.     Cleveland: $19,435.17
2.     Cincinnati: $22,226.95
3.     St. Louis: $22,397.54
4.     Atlanta: $24,390.94
5.     Tampa: $24,650.88
6.     Orlando: $28,298.47
7.     San Antonio: $29,305.47
8.     Dallas: $29,751.24
9.     Houston: $31,298.99
10.   Chicago: $32,388.90
11.   Phoenix: $32,811.94
12.   Minneapolis: $33,800.09
13.   Philadelphia: $36,836.47
14.   Baltimore: $41,155.40
15.   Sacramento: $42,832.20
16.   Miami: $43,918.66
17.   Portland, Ore.: $45,872.78
18.   Denver: $48,122.72
19.   Seattle: $59,129.86
20.   Washington, D.C.: $62,809.63
21.   Boston: $63,673.13
22.   New York City: $66,167.27
23.   Los Angeles: $72,126.90
24.   San Diego: $81,570.40
25.   San Francisco: $115,510.06

What's it all mean? It means that home ownership is elusive in San Francisco -- surprise, surprise, surprise. The median household income here is $73,802. So you'll have to earn nearly 160 percent of that just to really think about buying a middle-of-the-road home here -- and even more still to be able to afford to live in it. 

Alas. In San Francisco, you're never home-free. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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