Bay Area Housing Prices Fall Hard on School Teachers

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As teachers face a host of health and safety challenges in the new school year, one constant remains – the Bay Area remains a brutal test for educators looking to buy a home.

Despite making one of the highest teaching salaries in the country, the typical San Jose and Santa Clara County educator has a harder time affording a home than his peers anywhere in the world. United States. East Bay and San Francisco are almost as bad, according to an analysis by online broker Redfin.

According to the study, teachers in the Bay Area would have around $ 225 to $ 1,200 per month for living expenses if they had a mortgage on a house at the median price. The study highlights a central Silicon Valley housing paradox: Good public schools drive up house prices, while high house prices drive out teachers.

Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area has pushed house prices beyond the budgets of many public workers. “You can give teachers more money,” Fairweather said, “but they’re still competing with tech workers with more income. “

The steady and sometimes rapid increase in housing prices in the Bay Area since 2012 has far exceeded increases for public educators. A wave of pandemic home purchases this spring has pushed the median price of a home in the nine-county area to over $ 1 million. Rising costs have made it difficult in some districts to recruit and retain teachers and maintain high standards, educators say.

Redfin’s analysis measured the disposable income that a single teacher earning the median salary in an American subway would have left after paying the mortgage on a typical house. It’s unlikely that a single Bay Area teacher could qualify for a loan and make payments on a million-dollar house without additional income, personal savings, or caregiving.

The median price of homes in the San Jose metro is $ 1.2 million, and the median salary for a teacher is $ 90,300, according to Redfin’s analysis. Mortgage payments on a Silicon Valley house would leave a single teacher with just $ 2,700 for groceries and living expenses for a year. The typical American teacher could buy a house and have more than 10 times the disposable income of a peer homeowner in San José.

Teachers in San Francisco and East Bay have a median income of $ 85,700 and are reportedly $ 14,900 remaining annually for all other living expenses.

Educators say the reality is that few young Bay Area teachers are homeowners. Bay Area early career educators often share apartments with roommates and partners, live with families, or travel long distances to find affordable housing. Homeownership is usually reserved for teachers with partners earning high incomes in technology or other fields.

Bonuses, increases and innovative efforts to provide subsidized housing for educators with middle-class salaries have failed to solve the problem in the Bay Area. About 1 in 5 loans from the Empower Homebuyers program administered by Santa Clara County and the Housing Trust Silicon Valley nonprofit have gone to teachers – but the demand is much higher, officials say.

“We’ve been working on this housing issue for a long, long time,” said Patrick Bernhardt, professor of mathematics and president of the San Jose Teachers Association. “In reality, it’s not a neighborhood problem that doesn’t pay enough. “

The high cost of living has been the main driver for teachers in San Jose, Barnhardt said. A recent teacher of the year moved to East Bay to find a job to be closer to her home in San Leandro.

San Jose and the San Jose Unified School District have started exploring innovative housing programs, including setting aside school-owned properties for the development of dedicated teacher housing. These efforts, however, are years away.

Frank Lara of United Educators of San Francisco said teachers want to live near their schools and be part of the communities where they teach. Housing costs are expected to be an issue teachers and administrators will address in future union bargaining sessions, he said.

The sky-high prices in San Francisco have made the district a popular short-term stop for early-career teachers to train – and leave. “We just need the housing to be affordable,” said Lara. “People just want a place to live. “


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