S.F. homeownership out of reach for many

Although The City boasted the third-highest household income in the nation, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau survey, a sweeping majority of wannabe homeowners has no place to hang their “Bless This Mess” placards.

The median household income in 2006 reached $65,497, according to the American Community Survey released Tuesday, but with the median price of homes in The City hovering around $800,000, very few can afford to buy a home in current markets.

Only 5.7 percent of homes on the market are affordable to households with an income of $86,500, according to the latest Housing Opportunity Index completed by the National Association of Homebuilders.

The City’s 2006 median income was nearly $8,000 more than the 2005 figure of $57,496, according to the data, ranking San Francisco as the third-highest for a U.S. city with more than 250,000 people behind Plano, Texas, and San Jose with $77,038 and $73,804, respectively.

While officials called the increase in median income a positive step, they worried that the distance between median incomes and housing prices would leave a large portion of the population unable to afford homes.

The median home price in the Bay Area remains stable. In an August report, Dataquick Information Systems, a real estate research firm, said the median home price in the nine-county Bay Area was $665,000, a peak reached in June. The median home price in The City was $799,000, according to the same report.

The high prices contribute to a measly 33 percent homeowner rate in The City, Grubb said, as compared with a nearly 69 percent national homeowner rate determined by the National Realtor Association.

The high cost of housing threatens The City’s diversity and livability and is the “greatest problem The City faces,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director with San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, a public policy think tank.

dsmith@examiner.com

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