Want to buy a home in California? Here’s how much you need to earn – by county

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The Sacramento Bee | Don Sweeney | May 17, 2018

You’ll need to earn at least $333,270 a year to qualify to buy a median-priced home in San Francisco — but not all of California is that costly: An income of $35,400 is enough in Lassen County.

A California Association of Realtors housing report on the first quarter of 2018 lists median home prices, estimated monthly payments and qualifying incomes for each of the state’s 58 counties.

The median home price statewide hit $538,640, requiring a monthly payment of $2,790, including taxes and insurance, and a minimum qualifying income of $111,500, according to the report.

San Francisco County tops all lists with a median home price of $1.6 million and $333,270 minimum qualifying income, followed closely by San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, still reeling from a Silicon Valley-fueled housing boom.

INCOME NEEDED TO BUY A HOME The median price of a single-family home in California is $538,640. A family would need to earn $111,500 a year to qualify to buy a home at that price – making payments of $2,790 per month (including taxes and insurance).

How those figures vary by county:

A property in San Jose with a house that burned down two years ago sold in April after less than a week for $900,000, about $100,000 over the initial asking price. And a condemned home in Fremont, also in the Bay Area, sold in April for $1.23 million.

In the Los Angeles area, Orange County homes had an $810,000 median price, requiring at $167,670 minimum qualifying income. San Diego County homes reached a $610,000 median price, requiring an income of at least $126,270 to purchase.

Median home prices ranged from $590,000 to $850,000 in the Central Coast counties of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, requiring minimum incomes anywhere from $122,130 to $175,950.

Away from the pricey coastline, median home prices in the Central Valley tended to be lower, coming in at $355,000 for Sacramento County, $300,000 in Stanislaus County and $258,000 in Fresno County, among others. That requires incomes in the $53,000 to $73,000 range.

Rural counties in Northern California had some of the lowest median home prices, with Lassen County at $171,000, followed by Siskiyou County at $210,000.

Toward the southern end of the state, Tulare County had a median home price of $225,000 and Kern County $231,500.

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