published on September 20, 2016 - 8:26 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Residential real estate company Redfin has put out new data showing the benefits of living in inland California.

The web-based brokerage found that only 17 percent of all the homes currently for sale in California’s most populous counties are affordable on the average teachers salary of $73,536. That figure represents a 13-percentage point decline in affordability since 2012, when 30 percent of all homes were within reach on the average salary, then at $70,487.

Fresno and Madera County, and much of inland California fared better on the list than San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, with affordability ranging from 0 percent to 0.2 percent.

“Despite increasing incomes, affordability has eroded in California over the past four years,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “A typical home in California costs more than half a million dollars—$200,000 more than the average teacher can afford. Though California is a striking example, it’s not the only state with this issue. Due to the yawning gap between incomes and home prices in communities across the country, our public servants can’t afford to live in the communities they serve. It’s a problem of national importance.”

Of the state’s 31 most populous counties, Fresno had an affordability score of 59.4 percent, just below Merced with an affordability of 60 percent — the state’s most affordable county.

Madera County wasn’t far behind with 43.8 percent affordability.

With an average salary of more than $77,000 a year, Fresno’s teachers are some of the highest paid in the state. On that salary, a teacher can afford a $320,000 home, which easily buys three bedrooms and 2,000 square feet on a large lot, according to Redfin.

“If you’ve got your California credential and want to be a homeowner too, Fresno is the place to be,” said Marti Cook, a Redfin real estate agent in Fresno. “Fresno is one of the few places left in California where our civil servants are able to become homeowners. It’s a great feeling to help the people who serve our community to realize the dream of homeownership.”

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