San Francisco Named 2nd-Least Affordable – So, How Can You Buy Here?
If you’re a homeowner in San Francisco, congratulations! Your city has made some major strides over the past year! You’ve seen an influx of new jobs come in, you’ve watched your foreclosure rate go down, you’ve seen the number of building permits start to increase, you’ve seen commercial development make a major come-back, and you’ve watched your property values start to go back up. However, your city has also just been named the second-least affordable city in the country. According to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median family income in San Francisco is $103,000. That’s higher than a lot of other places. Unfortunately, the average home here costs $659,000. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to set your maximum home-buying price at 2 ½ times your gross yearly income. At that rate, you can’t do it! In fact, according to the NAHB’s calculations, only 31% of San Francisco homeowners could actually afford to buy their own homes today! So, what can you do if you want to move to this area, set down roots, and buy a home?
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- Buy across the bay
Remember, real estate is all about location, location, location. Just by moving a few miles out of San Francisco, you can make your monthly mortgage payments a whole lot more manageable. That’s because Oakland is the 24th-least affordable city in the country, according to the NAHB. Rankings aside, how much can you save in dollars and cents? Right now, the median home price is $329,000. Is that enough of a difference to convince you to drive across the Bay Bridge every morning to get to work?
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- Be prepared to cut down your list of “must-haves”
If you dream of having a big home with a sprawling yard and all of the luxurious amenities you could ever need, you’re probably not going to get it all in San Francisco – unless, of course, you’re making beaucoup bucks! So, make a list of things that you absolutely-positively-can’t live without. Then, make a list of things that it would be nice to have, but that you could do without. If making that second list is really tough, you’ll have to decide if having a San Francisco address is really that important to you. If not, you may want to consider San Jose – where you can get much more bang for your buck (even though it’s about an hour away).
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- Take full advantage of your realtor
In many cases, your realtor can be your guide through an unfamiliar (and sometimes scary!) journey. This is the case ten times over in San Francisco! A good realtor won’t just know which neighborhoods are best for your budget. He’ll also know how to be your advocate and how to fight for a good deal on your behalf! And, even if you’re not considered “low-income” in most places, you might be in San Francisco. A good realtor can let you know if you qualify for extra loan options for special financing offers.
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-The only place less affordable than San Francisco?
New York. Ironically, the houses in San Francisco cost a whole lot more ($659,000 compared to the median price of $455,000 in the New York region). However, people who live in New York don’t make as much money as the people who live in San Francisco, so it actually makes their area much tougher to afford. So, consider yourselves lucky, San Franciscans! Your home-buying challenge could be much more difficult!
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