Santa Barbara County Homeowners
Santa Barbara County is the 7th least affordable small metropolitan housing market in the nation (NAHB/Wells Fargo HOI 2021). The affordability gap between local wages and housing costs affects households across a broad range of socio-economic status. Our low-income Target Population is most vulnerable to high housing costs and faces severe cost burden, overcrowding or substandard living conditions.
The Santa Barbara County Affordability Gap
Our 2021 Area Median Income of $90,100 is significantly lower than other California high cost coastal housing areas such as San Francisco ($149,600) and Ventura County ($98,800) (State HCD). Since we have comparable housing costs, we experience a greater affordability gap.
Things have changed from the last generation; owning a home has become more difficult for working families. For example, in 1983 the median priced home in South Santa Barbara County was 4 times the median family income, but in 2021 the median home price is 22 times the median income, creating a large “affordability gap”—the differential between current median home sale prices and the price that families can reasonably afford.”
In Q2 of 2021, only 13% of County households could afford the countywide median priced single-family home of $1,112,500 (CA Association of Realtors). This figure is significantly low as contrasted with 31% of County households being able to afford the median home price in July 2020 (CA Association of Realtors). Additionally, the South County median home price is even higher. Year to date since July 2021, the South County median home price was $1,927,500 (Knight Real Estate Group). A major identified obstacle to homeownership is the lack of adequate down payment resources. A 2015 Coastal Housing Coalition (CHC) survey found that many local employees wish to put down roots in the community but are unable to afford to purchase a home. The CHC survey also found that lack of affordable housing was a primary concern of both employees and employers and negatively impacts the ability of local firms to retain high quality staff and expand operations. A significant number of firms indicated they might expand elsewhere or relocate outside our region entirely. These trends indicate severe community need and high demand for our Workforce Homebuyer assistance program.
As the affordability gap increases, more and more individuals and families pay more than 30% towards housing or can no longer afford to live in the community where they work, leading to excessive personal debt, anxiety, long commutes, more hours at work, and fewer hours with family and friends. In short, our workforce has been priced out of the communities they serve.
WORKFORCE HOMEBUYER OFFICE
© 2021 Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County
Housing Trust Fund
of Santa Barbara County
P. O. Box 60909
Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0909
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