OAKLAND, Calif. - Three Bay Area cities have the least affordable housing in the country, according to a new study from WalletHub.
The personal finance website compared 300 cities of varying sizes to find out which ones were the most affordable and had the best quality of life. They considered such things as cost of living, real-estate taxes and property-crime ratea to put together their findings.
In the Bay Area, San Mateo, Sunnyvale and Berkeley are among the “least affordable” small and mid-sized cities when it comes to buying a first-time home. the study shows.
In Berkeley, for example, the median home price is about $1.2 million. San Mateo’s median home price is currently nearly $1.4 million, while Sunnyvale has the highest median price of the three cities at nearly $1.7 million.
Of course, bidding wars are commonplace in the Bay Area’s hot real estate market so homes often sell for much more than their listing price.
“What's been happening is things are priced in the $800,000 (range) and selling at $1.2, $1.3 million. So right away there is this shock," said Leslie Easterday, who has been selling real estate in Berkeley for 30 years.
Additionally, there’s a lack of housing stock on the market in Berkeley because an increasing number of homeowners, including many older residents, are staying in their homes because they can't afford to move.
"I work with professors. Prices are so high in Berkeley they can't afford to buy in Berkeley. I will show them El Cerrito and Richmond," said Easterday.
While the WalletHub study shows that the most affordable housing for first-time homebuyers is in Ohio, New York and Illinois, one Bay Area real estate agent said local buyers might look to the East Bay city of Concord for a deal.
"You can still find homes in the high $400,000 to mid $500,000 (range) for a single-family house," said Alex Khodadad, a Concord real estate agent.
But Khodadad said the lower prices do come with a tradeoff.
"There are certain areas where the schools are good. And there are areas where the schools are not as good. That has held Concord back.," he said.