The Eye-Popping Definition Of ‘Low Income’ In The Bay Area Goes Up Again

By Annie Sciacca
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In the Bay area an income of $117,400 will now define you as “low” income. WHAT????

The Mercury News

In a region where even people with six-figure incomes struggle to find places to live, the threshold for who qualifies as “low income” keeps going up.

Reflecting the Bay Area’s relentless rise in housing costs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s latest definition of the “low” income level to qualify for certain affordable housing programs stands at $117,400 per year for a household of four people in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties.

That’s up more than 10 percent from last year and is the highest in the nation.

Households in those three counties that are considered “very low” income bring in as much as $73,300 per year and the threshold for “extremely low” for a family of four is $44,000, according to HUD’s recently released 2018 limits.

The median family income for those areas is $118,400, according to HUD.

The federal income limits, which set a threshold that determines who can qualify for affordable and subsidized housing programs such as Section 8 vouchers, have risen for at least four consecutive years.

But they’re still not keeping pace with the price of housing in some areas.

The median price of resale homes has increased 25 percent in the past year in Santa Clara County, 11.8 percent in Alameda and 10 percent in Contra Costa.

In May, the median price for a single family home in the Bay Area reached a record $935,000, according to real estate data firm Core Logic.

“It just demonstrates how broken and unsustainable our housing market is,” said Amie Fishman, executive director of the nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California. “More and more people are unable to afford housing.”

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