Housing in San Mateo County: Out of Reach?

Originally Posted on 


Out of Reach 2012, a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition lists San Mateo and San Francisco County as the most expensive areas to live in the US. The report bases this calculation on current cost of living in the area and the amount of money a household must earn in order to afford a rental unit in a range of sizes.

The NLIHC found that with cost of living considerations, an hourly worker in San Mateo County must earn $36.63/hr in order to afford a 2-bedroom home in the area. The report also found that state-wide in California, an individual would need to work on average 130 hours/week in order to afford rent for a 2-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.

As the report points out, “With more households choosing renting over home-ownership, the demand for affordably priced rental housing is surging, pushing rents upward and vacancy rates down. These trends have the most severe implications for extremely low income (ELI) households (those earning at or below 30% of area median income). Out of Reach 2012 findings show that for extremely low income Americans, including those on fixed incomes, finding an affordable, decent apartment continues to be incredibly challenging.”

A full copy of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Report can be found on the organization’s website:


Out of Reach is a side-by-side comparison of wages and rents in every county. The 2012 Report demonstrates that a mismatch exists between the cost of living, the availability of rental assistance and the wages people earn day to day across the country.


About NLIHC: The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. (http://nlihc.org/)