Trulia released the latest revision of its annual middle class housing study today, and it’s clear that Seattle is still a far more affordable place to live compared to other cities known for their tech communities like New York and San Francisco.
According to Trulia’s data, 53 percent of the homes for sale in the Seattle metro area are affordable for people making $69,718 a year, the city’s median income.
That’s significantly better than San Francisco, which only has 14 percent of its homes priced affordably for residents who make the city’s median household income of $84,129.
What’s more, people in Seattle get more bang for less money. The median size of an affordable home in San Francisco is 1,050 square feet, compared to 1,300 square feet in Seattle.
In this case, “affordable” means that the purchase price of a house is low enough that homebuyers only need to spend 31 percent or less of their monthly income on their mortgage, insurance and property taxes. That means there could be more homes that are within reach for people who make the median income, though buying them will cut deeper into a monthly budget.
Middle class folks in Seattle have it harder now than they did in 2013. There are actually 12 percent fewer homes that are affordable to median income earners this year than there were last year. It’s unlikely things will get much better, either: Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko said that markets like San Francisco — where regulations impede development and space is limited — won’t see much improvement in these statistics.
“In all, today’s unaffordable markets are likely to stay unaffordable,” Kolko wrote. “A collapse in demand is nothing to wish for; geographic constraints are nearly impossible to change; and strong political forces make building regulations difficult to relax.”