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- Housing is so costly in San Francisco that the average teacher can only afford 0.7% of the homes on the market, according to a Trulia study.
- Most cities are becoming less affordable for teachers as housing prices rise faster than their salaries.
- Housing costs are also a problem – especially in San Francisco – for restaurant workers, programmers, and even doctors.
At current salary levels, teachers in many cities across the US can’t afford to live near the schools where they teach.
Teachers in California earned $78,711, on average, for the 2016-2017 school year. While that’s over $18,000 more than the national average for a teacher ($59,850), it’s still not enough to buy a home in the most expensive housing market in the US.
In some states where the average teacher salary is lower -West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky – public school teachers have gone on strike to protest low pay, and to fight for more benefits and education funding.
The latest National Association of Realtors data shows you need to make at least $173,783 a year to afford the median-priced home in San Francisco. As a solution, some workers including teachers have opted for communal living with shared bathrooms and common areas to reduce their cost of living.
Trulia looked at incomes and housing prices in the 93 largest metro areas in the US and found that only eight places increased the share of houses that were affordable for teachers over the last year. Meanwhile, housing in 84 US cities became less affordable on a teacher’s salary over the last year. Trulia defined affordable as a monthly payment equal to or less than 31% of a person’s paycheck.
San Francisco was actually one of the few cities where housing became more accessible for teachers, but the prospect of a teacher buying a house by the Bay is still abysmally low.
The nearby city of San Jose, California, saw no change in affordability over the last year; only 2% of for-sale homes are affordable for teachers.
But teachers aren’t the only workers struggling in San Francisco. Cheryl Young, senior economist at Trulia, took a look at how difficult it is for workers in several other jobs to own a home in the city where they work.
Only 0.1% of cooks, food prep workers, bartenders, and waiters are able to afford housing in San Francisco. Detroit, Michigan, is the only city where half of available homes are affordable to restaurant workers.
San Francisco’s lack of affordable housing doesn’t extend to just teachers and restaurant workers. Doctors can only afford 30.5% of homes in San Francisco. Despite, the region’s reliance on technology workers, less than 5% of houses in the city are affordable to programmers.
Teachers are best able to afford a house in El Paso, Texas, where 83% of homes are within the price range for educators. In El Paso, the median teacher salary is $57,517, while the median list price for a home is low at $169,950.
Tacoma, Washington, had the biggest one-year drop in home affordability for teachers. Due to a 42.9% increase in list prices, teachers can now afford only 25.8% of homes in Tacoma.
San Francisco and San Jose aren’t the only California cities where the gap between income and home prices squeezes teachers out of the city where they work. Oakland, Ventura County, Orange County, and San Diego also have less than 10% 0f home listings in the average teacher’s affordable range.