Special Report

Cities Where Americans Struggle to Afford Their Homes

Source: Thinkstock

16. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Cost-burdened households: 36.5%
> Cost-burdened low income households: 76.2%
> Median single-family home value: $1.2 million
> Median household income: $109,210
> Homeownership rate: 56.6%

The explosive economic growth in the tech sector in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area led to skyrocketing home prices. As a result, housing has become unaffordable for many area residents. The typical single-family home in San Jose is now valued at $1.2 million, the highest median home value of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. An estimated 36.5% of households spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing, far more than the 32.0% of American households who do.

Housing in San Jose is particularly unaffordable for low income residents. Some 43.4% of households earning between $30,000 and $44,999 a year — spend over 50% of their incomes on housing, the largest share of any major metro area.

Source: Thinkstock

15. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> Cost-burdened households: 37.0%
> Cost-burdened low income households: 58.4%
> Median single-family home value: $347,675
> Median household income: $59,000
> Homeownership rate: 54.1%

Some 37% of households in the Stockton-Lodi metro area are moderately or severely burdened by housing costs. Low-income residents are disproportionately affected. Over half of area households earning $30,000-$44,999 a year spend at least 30% of their income on housing costs. The city of Stockton is planning to pay its poorest residents a basic income to offset rising housing costs and reduce homelessness.

High demand is likely partially to blame for the disproportionately high housing costs in the metro area. Like in a number of other West Coast housing markets, inventory of homes for sale fell in each of the last three years in Stockton-Lodi.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
> Cost-burdened households: 37.2%
> Cost-burdened low income households: 59.8%
> Median single-family home value: $391,391
> Median household income: $64,000
> Homeownership rate: 59.1%

The Sacramento metro area is one of a handful nationwide to have fewer than 20 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income households. As a result, nearly 60% of area households in the $30,000-$44,999 income range are especially burdened by housing costs.

Rapid population growth in the metro area is driving up housing demand and also likely costs. The number of people living in the Sacramento metro area increased by 5.5% from 2011 to 2016, faster than the national population growth rate of 3.7%. Over roughly the same period, the typical monthly mortgage payment in the metro area increased by 92.5%, more than double the 41.4% increase nationwide.

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

13. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Cost-burdened households: 37.4%
> Cost-burdened low income households: 70.1%
> Median single-family home value: $909,836
> Median household income: $96,000
> Homeownership rate: 53.6%

The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area is one of the wealthiest in the country. The typical household there earns $96,000 a year, nearly $40,000 more than the national median. It is also one of the least affordable places in the country. The typical single-family home costs $909,836, the second highest median home value of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Some 37.4% of households spend at least 30% of their incomes to housing costs, far more than the 32.0% of households nationwide that spend at least 30% on housing costs.

San Francisco housing is particularly unaffordable for the middle class. Of households earning $45,000-$74,999 a year, 55.9% are cost-burdened by housing, the largest share of any major U.S. metro area.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

12. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
> Cost-burdened households: 37.6%
> Cost-burdened low income households: 55.6%
> Median single-family home value: $217,129
> Median household income: $52,000
> Homeownership rate: 59.3%

The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area has undergone rapid population growth over the past several years. The city’s population grew by 12.4% between 2011 and 2016, more than three times the national population growth rate of 3.7%. The increased demand for housing has contributed to a massive increase in home values, making real estate less affordable for many of Orlando’s lower income residents. The typical home in Orlando is now worth 4.4 times the median income in the city, up 50% from five years ago — the eighth largest increase in price-to-income ratio of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Today, some 37.6% of Orlando households are cost burdened, far more than the 32.0% of households nationwide.