California

See where California teachers have the toughest time paying rent, mortgage

These are some of the issues behind California’s housing crisis

California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.
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California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.

In some California communities, the annual mortgage payments on a typical home equals the average yearly salary of teachers. In many of those same places, typical rent payments each year are equivalent to half of average teacher pay.

California is suffering a persistent teacher shortage. One reason: As home prices rise, teachers in California struggle to afford to live in many of the areas where they work. Many workers in other professions — public and private — face similar problems living in the state’s high cost areas.

In San Mateo County, for example, the median home value is about $1.35 million, according to real estate tracking firm Zillow.com. With 20 percent down on a 30-year mortgage, monthly payments on that home would be around $6,900, or about $82,000 a year, including taxes and insurance. The average teacher salary in San Mateo County is $86,000, and that’s before taxes are deducted.

In 15 California counties, all of them along or near the coast, mortgage payments on a typical home would consume more than 45 percent of the average salary for a teacher in the county.



It doesn’t get much better for teachers choosing to rent.

In San Francisco County, the median rent for a two-bedroom unit is about $4,300 a month, or $51,000 a year, according to Zillow. The average teacher salary in San Francisco is about $73,000.

In four California counties, all of them in the Bay Area, two-bedroom rental would take more than 45 percent of the average salary for a teacher in the county.

Many financial planners recommend that individuals spend no more than 30 percent of their total income on housing.

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Phillip Reese is a data specialist at The Sacramento Bee and an assistant professor of journalism at Sacramento State. His journalism has won the George Polk and Worth Bingham awards, and he was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.
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