In the fourth quarter of last year, the median home price in San Diego hit $430,000 — 59 percent higher than the 2009 bottom but still below the $500,000 peak of 2005. Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, says that San Diego is still one of the least affordable housing markets in the United States.
The shocker: San Diegans spend more of their household income on shelter than residents of any other metro area. San Diegans' income before taxes is 19 percent higher than the United States average, but annual expenditures on shelter are 57 percent higher.
"This stark difference is evidence for just how 'house poor' San Diegans are," says Cunningham.
From late 2005's bubble peak to the 2009 bottom, prices plunged 51 percent before bouncing back 59 percent (45 percent when adjusted for inflation). Now, with the median housing price at $430,000 and median family income at $72,700, the San Diego metro area is the tenth least affordable market in the United States, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
California accounted for 13 of the 14 least affordable markets. The least affordable is the San Francisco metro area, with a median home price of $920,000 and median family income of $100,400.
In San Diego County, the two most expensive markets are both in Rancho Santa Fe — a $3.4 million median home price in the 92067 zip code and $2.8 million in the 92091 zip code; third is Coronado at $2.24 million, and fourth is La Jolla at $1.9 million.