Affordability

House Keys

Median Home Prices


This graph shows U.S., California, and San Joaquin County annual median home sale prices. California and San Joaquin County home prices are more volatile than in the U.S. overall, with similar up-down trends. In the late 1990s, U.S. and San Joaquin County home prices were comparable. However, the dot com bubble made California and San Joaquin County prices skyrocket, while U.S. prices rose more gradually. Beginning in 2007, California home prices rose higher than the U.S. and San Joaquin County, and all geographies have increased since 2012. Data came from averaging monthly median home price estimates to obtain annual prices. (Source: UOP Center for Business and Policy Research Index)


Housing Affordability Index


This table shows the percent of California and NSJV county households that can afford a median-priced home. Naturally, a higher percent of San Joaquin County households can afford their first homes than in California. Stanislaus County has the most affordable homes for first-time buyers. Merced County homes are also affordable, while a lower percent of San Joaquin County households can afford a first home. This affordability index has decreased everywhere since 2014, reflecting rising home prices. CBPR obtained data from the California Association of Realtors (CAR), presented quarterly; quarter percentages were averaged to obtain the annual indices. (Source: UOP CBPR Index).

Average first-time home buyer affordability index


   2016  2017  2018 (Q1-Q3)
 San Joaquin County  54.8%  60.5%  56.7%
 Merced County  67.5%   62.3%  60.7% 
 Stanislaus County  66.5%  64.8%   64.3%
 California  50.8%  48.0%  46.7%

Rent Burden


One common statistic in determining a region's housing affordability is the "rent burden" chart, or the percentage of households that use at least 30% of their total incomes on housing costs. Exiting the Recession, San Joaquin County's rent burden percentage actually dipped below that of California overall, signifying that San Joaquin County may have more affordable housing than other parts of California, although it still exceeds the United States' percent. 

Another viewpoint is the rental burden breakdown by household income bracket. While San Joaquin County has a higher rental burden than the United States, it begins to resemble the U.S. average more so than it does California's at incomes higher than $75,000.

Vacancy Rates


Housing vacancy rates can play an important role in determining the county's housing affordability. Ideally, a healthy rental vacancy rate should be 6 to 7% — any lower will allow property owners to keep rents higher. A typical homeowner vacancy rate hovers around 1 to 2%. The "total vacant housing units" category includes housing that is for rent or sale, housing that is rented or sold but not occupied, housing for seasonal use, and housing for migrant workers.

Underwater Mortgages


This graph shows the percent of underwater mortgages in the U.S., California, and San Joaquin County. Meaning more is owed on a mortgage than the house is currently worth, underwater mortgages peaked during the Great Recession, when plummeting housing prices made amounts owed on mortgages for recently purchased homes larger than the houses’ values. The percent of 2011–2012 underwater mortgages in San Joaquin County was significantly higher than in California and the U.S. However, in 2014–2016, this percent dipped to below 15% with California and the U.S., due to increasing home values (Source: UOP CBPR Index & Zillow research).