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San Diego’s Housing Market Among Least Affordable In U.S.

Aired 10/18/12 on KPBS News.

A new report out this week finds San Diego's housing market is among the least affordable in the nation.

— A new survey finds San Diego is a difficult place to buy a home because the price of real estate is so high.

A local home for sale in San Diego.
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Above: A local home for sale in San Diego.

The survey ranked the affordability of the nation's 25 largest cities. The least affordable are San Francisco, New York and San Diego. The poll looked at a number of factors including home values, income, taxes and homeowners' insurance costs. Those yardsticks all figured into the equation.

"Yes, your median income is higher than average, but not nearly high enough to be able to afford significantly higher property taxes and the big cost of the house itself," said Mike Sante of

San Diego home values are more expensive than New York right now, according to Sante, and local home values are moving up. The survey also found the the two most affordable cities in the nation are Detroit and Atlanta.

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Avatar for user 'cage'

cage | October 18, 2012 at 8:25 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

It's not only home buyers who struggle to afford this city. Rent is outrageous here.Why don't these stories ever talk to/about renters? $1200 for a one bedroom. Rent for a one bedroom is more than the mortgage on a 2 bedroom house. And don't even get me started if you are a pet owner.... I wish these stories would be more balanced when it comes to looking at issues like this, and not just focus on home buyers.

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Avatar for user 'Dothscribble'

Dothscribble | October 18, 2012 at 11:23 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

The price of housing in SD is entirely appropriate considering the real world benefits of the region.
In response to Canine-supremicists tirelessly eroding the quality of everyone's domestic life, I say unmuted dogs should be eliminated by nearly any means!
Stratospheric pet deposits should be the uncompromising norm. Dogs belong on farms.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 18, 2012 at 12:03 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

There is a reason for high home and rental prices here. San Diego is a paradise, especially compared to dumps like Detroit and Atlanta, which is why they are so cheap. But our paradise is being damaged by overpopulation.

We need fewer people in San Diego, not more. High housing and rental prices discourage people from moving here and encourage some to move away.

That is a very, very good thing.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 18, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm surprised by the top 3 list:


The reason I am surprised is because there is a very large gap between NYC and SF real estate prices and San Diego's. I would think there would have to be places in the middle, but I guess it's because we don't have the jobs that some other, more expensive cities have.

Still, SD is a bargain when you look at cities like NYC and SF.

To live in Manhattan or SF proper, you need to be a millionaire to be comfortable - and I am not exaggerating.

In SD you don't have to be a millionaire to live comfortably.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | October 18, 2012 at 4:17 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

I went to Cincinnati OHIO last weekend, the homes there cost $100,000! Plenty of water, no fires, no earthquakes, nice forests, nice climate. Why does any company stay in San Diego?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 18, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Really, Cincinnati? It is 1/5th the size of San Diego and they have a declining population. Chula Vista will be bigger than Cincinnati in a few years.

With no port and no major universities, it economy is more suited to banking/insurance, not high tech like us. Moreover they have substantial issues with crime.

And a nice climate? Hot sticky mosquito infested summers and freezing icy winters. Yeah, that sure beats 75 degrees with an ocean breeze year round!

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | October 19, 2012 at 10:25 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

I think an appropriate question then would be, 'Is nice weather worth a 5X cost premium in houses'
Apparently the answer to that is yes for a large number of people.

With geographic collocation being becoming increasingly trivial for close collaboration it will be very interesting to watch housing trends and population shifts once telecommuting becomes mainstream.

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Avatar for user 'ashkoninsd'

ashkoninsd | November 12, 2012 at 12:57 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

California Defender:
There's no question that San Diego has qualities that don't exist in other cities, but you're far too gungho about the housing market here. As an employee to one of San Diego's primary Real Estate Developers- I can comment with increasing confidence that San Diego prices will continue slide (though not in double digit percentages as seen over the last 3 years), even if we do see a slight increase in volume from time to time. The comparison between SF and NY only comparable in the cost to purchase/rent. The comparison doesn't hold a candle when examined next to SD's income per capita vs. that of the 2 larger cities. SD per capita income is far less. It's not rocket science. Unless per capita income increases, Real Estate values will meet demand - and if income is low, demand will lessen and values will fall. Even against a massive exodus from SD, as you suggest, those remaining here in SD need to be able to afford the remaining home prices, and that is not likely with our current per capita income.

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Avatar for user 'jeff303'

jeff303 | September 18, 2013 at 7:06 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

ashkoninsd, looks like your prediction hasn't been panning out well.

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