Santa Cruz leads nation in expensive housing

The Associated Press
Saturday January 19, 2002

SANTA CRUZ — San Francisco no longer tops the list for least-affordable housing in the nation. That distinction now falls an hour and a half to the south to Santa Cruz, famous for its waves and hippies. 

That result comes from the National Association of Home Builders, which compiles the list each year by comparing family incomes and home prices for metropolitan areas around the country. The latest survey is based on third-quarter numbers for 2001. 

The Santa Cruz metro area’s median income is $65,000, and the median home price is $420,000, up $5,000 from the previous quarterly survey. 

San Francisco dropped to second, as its median home price fell $10,000 to $520,000, still the most expensive median home price in the country. 

In fact, nine of the 10 least-affordable markets in the nation are in California. The Salinas metro area in Monterey County was third, followed by San Jose, which has a $450,000 median home price — the second most expensive median home price in the nation. 

Rounding out the top 10 behind San Jose were Santa Rosa, the Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa area, the San Luis-Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles area, Oakland and San Diego. The Portsmouth-Rochester area in New Hampshire and Maine took 10th in the study. 

In contrast, Rockford, Ill., has a median home price of $99,000 and a median family income of $57,100. 

Indianapolis was the most affordable city with more than a million people, with a median home price of $130,000 and a median income of $60,700. 

Santa Cruz has been vehemently anti-growth, but with such an expensive housing market, the Santa Cruz city council is trying to come up with solutions that include environmentally sound and affordable housing.