RELEASE: California Counties Lead List of Most Expensive Jurisdictions in Nation

Senate passes bill to protect political free speech rights of HOA residents
June 1, 2017
State Legislative Update: June 13, 2017
June 13, 2017

California Counties Lead List of Most Expensive Jurisdictions in Nation
New National Report Finds Affordable Housing out of Reach for Most Workers

(June 8) California counties lead the list of most expensive rental housing jurisdictions in the nation, according to a new national report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties take the respective top six spots on the national list. With Santa Cruz County included, California holds seven of the top 10 least affordable counties in the nation.

“This is an embarrassing honor to hold and a devastating hardship for our communities,” said Amie Fishman, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California Executive Director. “Let’s make progress this year so we can stop being known for our housing problems – and start being known for our housing solutions.”

According to the report, in California, at the minimum wage of $10.50/hour, a wage earner must have 2.3 full-time jobs or work 92 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. 

“The Out of Reach 2017 data affirms the harsh day-to-day reality for millions of low-income families – no matter how hard you work or how many jobs you hold, finding and keeping a stable place to live is an endless struggle,” said Ray Pearl, California Housing Consortium Executive Director. “Fortunately, we do know how to solve the affordable housing crisis and alleviate stress on Californians. Now, we need California Leadership to follow through with bold action by investing in affordable housing.” 

NLIHC’s “Out of Reach” report explores the Housing Wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on rent) for all U.S. states, counties, and metropolitan areas. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value. This year’s findings show that in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a modest two-bedroom rental home.

“After the national election, our state’s leaders declared California’s commitment to ‘defend its people and our progress’ and support ‘justice and dignity for all,'” said Lisa Hershey, Executive Director of Housing California. “President Trump’s budget proposal would hurt Californians. State leadership must stand up and invest in programs for our people with the greatest needs.”

“This is a top ten list we just can’t stay on,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. “The Bay Area’s housing affordability disaster threatens our economic vitality and makes life incredibly hard for thousands of residents. We must act in Sacramento this year to provide funding for affordable housing and to advance real solutions to ease the crisis.”

Speaking in Sacramento earlier this year, NLIHC Executive Director Diane Yentel said California was leading the way in the U.S. to make housing more affordable by proposing state legislation on investment. “To the extent that you have success at the state level, it helps build the momentum for change at the national level,” Yentel said.


For more about the report, please visit

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