Half of Californians Can’t Afford Their Homes
Posted on Dec 16, 2010
By Joanna Lin, California Watch
Californians are more burdened by housing costs than are residents of any other state, an analysis of new census data shows.
More than half of the state's homeowners with a mortgage—51.4 percent—spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs, according to 2005-2009 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Renters in California are in the same boat, with 51.8 percent spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.
The 30 percent threshold for housing costs has long been a conventional marker of affordability [PDF]. The estimates, released Tuesday, show that housing costs exceed 30 percent for 36.7 percent of mortgaged owners and 46.2 percent of renters nationwide.
Housing costs in California are among the highest in the country. California homeowners spend an average $2,292 per month, compared to $1,486 nationally. Renters in the state pay an average $1,116 toward housing, compared to $817 nationally.
With high housing costs come high home values. Median values of owner-occupied housing units were greater than $500,000 in 32 U.S. counties—including 17 in California. Home values in the state ranged from $160,100 in Modoc County to $880,000 in Marin County.
This post originally appeared on California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting.
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