trulia-pngTrulia 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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.50.35 PM

Seattle scene (Kurt Schlosser photo)
Seattle scene (Kurt Schlosser photo)

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.”

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  • OptimusDiaz

    How does this have zero discussion around it? This is a big issue especially for Startups trying to grow and improve in the Seattle community.

    • Mark MacKay

      How has the development of Seattle’s “South Lake Union” improved my community? Over the last two years I’ve seen a huge surge in traffic, crazy rent hikes and horrible new architecture – especially on Dexter Ave. It’s turned a human scaled neighborhood into a characterless canyon. But it’s not all bad. I can now buy overpriced, mediocre food in a variety of noisy stores and restaurants.

      • OptimusDiaz

        Not sure where your point is, are you “subtly” referring to AMZN? Because last I checked, not a startup. Big company with big salary offerings = expect the neighborhood around it to scale & match to those higher budget folks. Are you calling SLU a startup hub? It’s not; more like a tech hub with some startups and two/three incubators around it. Several others are in Belltown, Pioneer Square, Redmond, or the U-District– basically spread out wide around the greater Seattle area. This is what I’m getting at— I’m talking about startups. The underdogs. The barely any funding folks. They pop up by the handful every other month working long hours and weekends to build services/products that may be able to help our community, and furthermore– our economy. According to the Kauffman Foundation and the US Census Bureau, without the jobs startups create, yearly employment growth would be at a greater negative. “Micro firms” with one to four PAID employees are especially significant, because they account for an avg of 20% of new jobs each year in the US. So where I was going with this was in agreement to your pain, but not at eyed at startups. I was saying that the high expense hikes are hurting these startups who cannot afford to thrive and develop if these prices continue to grow, rippling out and affecting others along the way.

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