June 28, 2018

BLUE STATE BLUES: Yet another sign that San Francisco’s housing market is out of control. “Are San Francisco families earning $117,400 a year really considered low income?”


Every year, HUD sets income limits that determine who can qualify for housing assistance, including Section 8 vouchers, public housing and other assistance programs. The calculation is also used to set eligibility for affordable housing built by developers who receive tax credits.

The formula takes into account an area’s median family income, as well as its housing costs. Those who make 80% of the formula amount are considered “low income,” while those earning 50% are “very low income” and those making 30% are considered “extremely low income.”

In the San Francisco metro area, which includes Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, an income of $44,000 or less for a family of four is considered extremely low, while the upper limit for having a very low income is $73,300.

These numbers are certainly eye-popping — and they have been rising swiftly. In 2014, the extremely low income limit was $33,200, the very low was $55,350 and the low was $88,600.

Home prices have been rising at an impressive clip, too. The median home value in the San Francisco metro area was $947,500 at the end of April, while the median rent was $3,300 a month, according to Zillow, a real estate marketplace.

Only 15% of San Francisco county residents could afford a median-priced home in the first quarter of 2018, according to Paragon Real Estate Group. That compares to 57% in the United States overall.

Anything which can’t go on forever will stop.

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