News

Housing report: Cost increases greatly exceed income gains

 

San Mateo County has released statistics on housing costs and income for the quarter ending June 30, and the numbers confirm what anyone who has recently tried to buy or rent a home already knows – the cost of housing in San Mateo County is increasing much faster than income.

Figures released by the county's Department of Housing show that in the three months ending June 30, the average market rent for a one-bedroom unit in San Mateo County was $2,516 a month, up 12.4 percent from the same period a year ago, and up more than 50 percent in four years.

The reported average market rent for a two-bedroom unit in San Mateo County was $2,815, up 12.5 percent over a year ago and 49 percent over four years ago. (A market rent is what new occupants are paying.)

At the same time, the county's median income (half of the incomes are higher and half are lower) rose a little less than 5 percent from last year, at $71,339 per year for a one-person household and $101,900 for a four-person household.

And over four years, while market rents have risen 50 percent, household income was flat, gaining just 0.3 percent since 2011.

The county Department of Housing says it bases its data on surveys conducted by the company RealFacts. On its website the company says it surveys thousands of apartment complexes four times a year to produce the numbers.

Home sales

Sales prices of homes and condominiums in the county are also up considerably. The median price of a single-family home countywide is $1.3 million, up from $1.085 million a year ago, a 19.8 percent increase. The average price (total sales prices divided by number of homes sold) is $1.66 million, up from $1.46 million a year ago, a 13.6 percent increase.

Condominiums countywide have a median price of $688,888, up 13 percent from the $610,000 a year ago. The average price of a condominium in the county is $740,469, up 13.6 percent from the average of $651,814 a year ago.

Over 15 years

Looking at the figures in the report over a 15-year period shows that housing rents in the county dropped sharply after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s and didn't recover 2000 levels until about 2012.

The year 2000 numbers are for the quarter ending Dec. 31, the farthest back the housing department's website goes. All the other years' figures are for the quarters ending June 30.

The report for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2000, showed an average rent of $1,715 for a one-bedroom rental and $1,900 for a two-bedroom rental.

Median income in 2000 for a one-person household was $52,450 and $74,900 for a four-person household, according to the data.

Housing rents over 15 years have risen at about the same rate as over the last four: Rents on a one-bedroom rental are up 46.7 percent from 2000, and rents on a two-bedroom rental are up 48 percent.

During that same 15-year period, reported household income rose 36 percent.

The county median home sale price in 2000 is shown as $625,000. By 2015, the number had reached $1.3 million, a 108 percent increase in 15 years.

For condominiums, the median sales prices in 2000 was $381,500, which compares with $688,888 in 2015, a gain of 80 percent over 15 years.

Comments

6 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

And how much of our taxes did the County spend on researching the obvious?


8 people like this
Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2015 at 11:33 am

This is why it's so important for the city to permit more housing. Job growth is strong across the whole region, and it's going to continue to increase housing prices for the foreseeable future. That sounds great, except that every young family on my block now feels trapped in their house as their families grow. Every single person with young kids on our block has either recently torn down and rebuilt their house to add space or plans to do so in the next year.

From what I've seen, the General Plan Advisory Commission has done a great job with creating a proposal to transform the office parks near Facebook into a new neighborhood that co-locates housing with jobs and adds a transit connection along the Dumbarton rail line. This is the best way to make sure that we have a place for newcomers to live without displacing existing residents or creating lots of traffic as they commute into work from far away.


4 people like this
Posted by picture too rosy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 12:26 pm

@ Bob - plenty of housing is allowed and zoned for. The bigger problem is that it's too easy to develop with offices instead of housing or shops. Take downtown for example. The specific plan allows 680 housing units, and 474,000 square ft of non-residential. So far the plan is more than 86% built out for non-residential (mostly offices but some needed hotel rooms) but only 640 housing units have been proposed so far (64%).
There was strong opposition to Measure M from those worried about its limits on offices to what was projected in the plan. Their unfounded fear was that more housing would be built, affecting schools. The schools have known for years that the specific plan has a max allowable amount of 680 units. More offices will mean more housing demand, which over the longer run means more pressures on schools.

Do you really think that Facebook workers will want to live near the office when they start having kids, who would go to the Ravenswood School District or private school? Do you really think that workers who live near Facebook and the offices nearby will always work at those offices? Will developers really build housing or stores out there or will they do what they are doing along El Camino? The picture isn't very rosy unless stronger incentives for stores and housing are in place, and unless it isn't as easy to add offices instead of housing and stores.


Like this comment
Posted by Location x 3
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm

The DSP covers lots right on El Camino Real (or near). ECR and the M2 are the only places where offices and mixed use buildings can be built.

As Facebook employees move into Belle Haven, more school and school district options will become available.


6 people like this
Posted by Ethan
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Bubble bubble bubble


17 people like this
Posted by Charlotte
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm

All these studies are informative, if not annoyingly repetitive, but where will all the service industry workers be able to live? I speak of the thousands of low income workers who provide valuable services to our community, such as restaurants workers, gardeners, caregivers for young and old, etc. Their wages remain low, most under $30,000 a year, and I am not seeing an option for allowance for new housing to include them. What is the plan?


15 people like this
Posted by Lily
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Interesting, but where will I be able to live? I am a nursing assistant making $25,000 a year. At current rental prices I don't see any affordable options for me. Yes, I am on wait lists for low income apartments, of which there are not enough of in this area. I don't see ever being able to purchase a home, let alone make ends meet, even after 10 years in my field. Ideas anyone?


3 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

If you can't afford to live here, then you should live somewhere else, either commuting or finding a new job there. If enough people are in your situation, then eventually salaries will have to rise to attract the necessary talent to perform whatever jobs truly need to be done locally. It is an organic rebalancing process.

Along the way, government will probably wade into the situation with various expensive and poorly thought out mandates that wind up making the problem worse.


2 people like this
Posted by picture too rosy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm

@Location x3 - Offices can be built in many places in Menlo Park - Sand Hill Rd., downtown, Middlefield, Willow Rd, in addition to El Camino, M-2.
Dense housing is best suited to larger lots and near transit. That should translate to El Camino. But more offices are being built than housing. Offices are displacing retail.
Menlo Park needs to wake up and do its part to address the housing shortage. For real. Not just on paper.


18 people like this
Posted by whstever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Mr. Davis
Your compassion is astounding.


8 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2015 at 6:39 pm

[Part removed. Please discuss the topic without attacking each other. ]

Saying "[i]f you can't afford to live here, then you should live somewhere else, either commuting or finding a new job there" shows a considerable lack of understanding reality.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm

@Picture Too Rosy: If we are three years and only a few projects into a fifteen-year Specific Plan and we already have 64% of the allowed housing spoken for, it sounds like it's all going to get built. I'm in favor of increasing the unit cap, especially if we allow smaller units that will accommodate singles and seniors who will cause less impact on the schools. If anything, I think we are more likely to be limited by the unit cap than the desire of developers to build housing.

From what I can see, the real threat to strong retail in Menlo Park is a lack of customers. Housing is important for that because it brings evening customers, but offices are important to bring daytime foot traffic. I don't know of any places in Menlo Park where office is displacing open retail stores - what are you thinking of?


10 people like this
Posted by Bob McGrew
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm

@Charlotte and Lily - yes, we absolutely do need more homes that are affordable to people who are not high income. The city needs to plan for it, and soon. I do believe some is included in the new neighborhood around Belle Haven, but there's been controversy over how much affordable housing to allow there. I think there's more community outreach coming up - this could be a place to make your voice heard.


10 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2015 at 10:52 am

Too little, too late for people like Charlotte and Lily. Menlo doesn't care about you. Remember - Menlo had to be sued to be held accountable for the lack of affordable housing. It's not happening any time soon.

Shared housing in E. Palo Alto, Berkeley or Richmond are your safest bets, under rent stabilization. But it's still incredibly expensive due to vacancy decontrol. Being poor is a very expensive way to live. I sincerely understand, and I wish I could offer better advice.


27 people like this
Posted by Lily
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 6, 2015 at 10:52 am

@Mr. Davis:
I'm worried by your comment that I should move somewhere else. I've lived in Menlo Park all my life, am 10 years into my nursing career, and I'm a student who is working on my degree with dreams of working at Stanford. Where shall I move so I can still keep my job in Menlo Park which I love? I currently bicycle to work, do you feel that I should move to Concord or Tracy and commute in? Would this not add to traffic congestion, pollution, and be counterproductive? I would like my example to speak for all persons making less than $50,000 a year, who are expected to "Just move away" so the latest cutting edge job holders can have the $2800 (and up) a month apartments. Are you saying you don't need nurses/caregivers/service workers who don't make very much money? We are the backbone of the nation.


17 people like this
Posted by Charlotte
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Aug 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

I'm quite concerned by Joseph Davis' comment that we low income workers should just move somewhere else and commute in, and he stated "If enough people are in your situation, then eventually salaries will have to rise to attract the necessary talent to perform whatever jobs truly need to be done locally." Thousands of us have the necessary talent to do our jobs, but we are in traditionally underpaid jobs, and salaries have not risen anywhere near the rate that rents have in this area. I watched my landlord buy his third multi-million dollar home, while I struggle to stay in my modest one bedroom unit which he won't repair. I would say that nurses and many other low paying jobs are needed locally, wouldn't you?
This issue doesn't even begin to touch on the disruption of relocating a family to Stockton for example, to commute in, change schools, add long commute hours and childcare, clog up the highways, have lack of family time, or leave my job and patients that depend on me.
As my 99 year old patient said: There was a dust bowl back in the day, and folks moved west. Now they are fleeing east from the tech bowl.


Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Are we taking into consideration how much development is planned on the flood plain? After all, according to recent scientific studies, ocean levels will rise 30 feet this century. Will El Camino be the new shoreline? I say let's put some affordable housing there, it will soon be oceanfront property. Oh wow, look at those greedy landlords tripling the rents in 2055!


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

william:

30 feet is a gross exaggeration.


Like this comment
Posted by picture too rosy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm

@ Bob - you ignore that the non-residential part of the downtown Plan is more than 85% of the 30 year maximum. There is only one remaining large site (Big 5 shopping center) that is highly suited to dense housing. There is no requirement to build housing or to retain a single inch of retail. It would be impressive if the Council would hold the line of office development to let housing catch up, but I am not holding my breath.


Like this comment
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm

[Post removed. Please make your point without speculating and making negative comments about other posters.]


9 people like this
Posted by Greed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

If landlords didn't raise rent by 10-20% each year on apts they have owned for 10-20 years, we wouldn't be in this pickle. It's pure profit to many of them, and little downside.

Tech salaries keep rising bc housing is so expensive and housing costs keep rising to reap profits. The cycle perpetuates.


14 people like this
Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2015 at 7:10 pm

There are a high number of people in this area NOT employed by tech and their cost of living goes up while they don't get raises. There is a lot more to life than tech jobs, tech lifestyles and the rewards of working in tech.

Joe Davis should be ashamed of the garbage he posted here and The Almanac should be ashamed for letting him post such snotty, elitist, uninformed dreck.


13 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Thank you, Water, for acknowledging there are populations here in the SFBA other than techies, and that our cost of living goes up without comparable raises.

I fall into the category of senior citizen living on Social Security, whose apartment rent has gone up by $400 per month over the last three years, while my Social Security check has only increased by approximately $80 per month during that three-year time period.

At age 74, I am a heartbeat away from becoming homeless. Cities here on the Peninsula generally do not have any immediate plans or interest in providing affordable housing for seniors. Something needs to change, such as making it a requirement that cities reward builders with tax breaks if they will designate a certain percentage of their housing units as affordable living units for seniors.

If anyone has any viable information regarding affordable housing for seniors here on the Peninsula, I would be interested in hearing it.






5 people like this
Posted by owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 12, 2015 at 1:42 am

I remember offering 2 nice clean fourplexes in Belle Haven last year to the city for below market at 200k per unit and the schill group that is the front front for the city said whith out much enthusiasm oh, we'll take a look at it but it might take 6 mos. to review. Needless to say we sold it for more to a market buyer. What a shame the city lost out on 8 affordable units at a bargain. There needs to be a top to bottom review and a dedicated group of people that only focus on locating and purchasing affordable units. They're out there you just really need to be diligent. If approached respectfully I believe some older apt. building owners if explained to properly would negotiate in good faith to sell or leave when they pass some of their units. Not everyone operates on greed alone. There are people that have been very successful in life that would like to leave a pleasant legacy in their name in perpetuity.


3 people like this
Posted by Hayward, CA
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2015 at 8:02 am

Not everyone can afford to live in the Peninsula. There are many affordable options across the bay in San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, and Milpitas.


6 people like this
Posted by Trisha
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I've looked in Hayward and that surrounding area for an affordable place, the rents are climbing there too. $1500 for a run down one bedroom apartment may be cheaper than the Bay Area, but East Bay rents are climbing at a scary rate too. No wonder families double up in small units to make it, this has to stop! A 50% increase in one year for a basic apartment in Menlo Park is outrageous. This will push me out of a job if I can't live close to work, and my children out of their schools as I am on call often.


6 people like this
Posted by Marlene
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

What I am seeing is an alarming rate of luxury hotels being approved for Menlo Park, not affordable housing. Are we catering to the wealthy who want to stay here for a business deal, and forgetting that our blue collar (is that term even used anymore?) workers need a place to live permanently? Something under $2000 a month based on their income?


2 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Yes one can move east and commute west which sounds pretty easy. Traffic and gas costs while sitting in traffic, then you can always find a local job in the east.

Then someone who takes the job in the west will end up have to live east.

Lets get get around to improve transit and highway links east to west.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

San Francisco's Kristian Cosentino to open Mountain View wine bar
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 4,034 views

Couples: Engaged on Valentine’s Day! Topics to Discuss
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,695 views

Sharing A Column About a Brilliant Teacher Idea
By Steve Levy | 4 comments | 489 views