Affordable Housing? Not Around Here!

The Bay Area has an issue with “affordable housing”, whatever that means.  To some, it’s Section 8 housing.  To others, it’s below the median rate.  And to others, its something that a “normal income” can buy. Keep in mind, that we see higher than average salaries here due to our high cost of living.   Well, to me, the definition of what “affordable housing” is, is all of the above and more.  For laughs though, go to and input “affordable housing” and see what they say and refer you to.

The median price for all houses in San Mateo County is $738,000. This is $538 a square foot for a house that would be a palace in many part of the country.  If you only factor resales, then it rises to $799,000.  There are only two houses at $738,000  in the entire county and both are in Daly City.  If you look at the $799,000 price, then the number jumps to…. Drum roll, please………. 41.

The first house in the county listed at $738,000 is a little 2 bedroom 1 bath 940 sq. foot property on a small lot under 4500 sq. feet.  This is a typical, attached property up in the Daly City area.

The second home is huge in comparison, at 1080 square feet and it’s a 3 bedroom 1 bath property.  The lot, again pretty typical for this part of Daly City is under 4500 sq. feet and this house is also an attached wall property.   So, if you are looking for the median priced house in San Mateo County these two are it.  And, yes, there are some houses priced below this price, since $738,000 is the median price.

I was curious to see how many homes are for sale in the cities we generally work in: Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont and San Carlos between $700,000 and $800,000 since there are two median numbers to look at.  To my surprise, there are 30 homes for sale in our area.  These are single family homes mostly in San Mateo, our largest city.

San Mateo has 23 for sale and most are 3 bedrooms, too. This house is the lowest priced in my search group: a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home with a 1000 square feet and a 5200 sq. foot lot.  Wow, this is a palace compared to the first house in Daly City at the median price for the county.  Plus, it’s it’s $30,000 less, as it’s listed at $705,000.

Well, hold on, the highest priced houses in my little search of homes is only $799,000 and there are 8 listed at this price. The largest of these homes is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home that has 1260 sq. feet of living space sitting on a 5000 foot lot. Sure, it’s $50,000 more than the first median number, but right on the second number.   So, to my surprise, in our little Fantasy Island, it is possible to buy a house under $800,000.  Woo Hoo!

But, wait.  My topic today is Affordable Housing.  Is this what one would call Affordable Housing?  Only here, in Fantansy Land.  Certainly no where else in the US.  That’s why there is such a hue and cry for Affordable Housing around here.  The kind of housing the rest of the world has.  The kind of housing for people who want to have the white picket fence and Mom home with the kids.  The kind of housing for those people who don’t earn six figure incomes.  For those who so nobally service the pubic as firefighters, police, teachers and the like.  We have a problem here and until the cities around here wake up, we are going to continue to see the media price of homes hovering around $800,000 and our Public Servants commuting to our communities from a long, long way away.

Moving? Know the value of your home …