Only one home was built for every 19 jobs created in San Mateo County between 2010 and 2015, a new report states.
During that period, the county saw over 72,800 new jobs but just 3,844 new homes built, according to the report from the San Mateo Housing Leadership Council, citing figures provided by the California Economic Development Department (EDD) and U.S. Census.
The housing supply shortage is driving up prices to levels unaffordable to even high-wage workers and is forcing many to commute from long distances, worsening traffic, according to the study.
“Far too few homes are being built,” the report states. “With each year that passes, we are digging ourselves into a bigger hole, forcing more and more workers to commute long distances.”
And while it’s increasingly difficult for high salaried workers to find housing, it’s become “almost impossible for lower-income workers.”
“The result is that the greatest burden falls on those with the fewest resources: those who make the least have to travel the most, to jobs that are the least likely to be flexible,” according to the report.
With job growth projections for San Mateo County growing, more places to live will be required. About 48,000 jobs are expected to be added by 2024, nearly half of which are projected to pay less than $65,000 per year, the report says.
But as the ongoing housing supply shortage drives up prices, the cost to buy or rent a home is becoming increasingly out of reach for most San Mateo County workers, of whom nearly half make less than $50,000 annually.
“In San Mateo County, as of April 2018, the median cost of a single-family home was $1.6 million,” the report said. “Using the typical standard of housing affordability at 30-percent of income, a family (or an individual) would need to earn $383,000 per year to buy that home. Buying a median condo would require earning $225,000 per year.”
Almost 60,000 people in San Mateo County can only afford renting apartments under $1,000 per month, but just 9,000 of those apartments exist, the report added.
The exorbitant costs of living is contributing to worsening traffic as it has increased displacement. Between 2012 to 2015, evictions for failure to pay rent on time when up by nearly 60 percent, while “no-cause” evictions, which are no fault of the tenant, went up by 300-percent, the report states.
“As the cost of living rises in San Mateo County, and not enough new homes are built, families are being pushed out of the county entirely,” the report states. “San Mateo County commuters are not just causing traffic in San Mateo County. They are causing a ripple effect throughout the region: low-income workers in Alameda and Contra Costa County are being displaced by San Mateo County workers, causing long drive times even to communities that have not benefited from the recent tech boom.”
Moving forward, the report recommends adding housing to public transit corridors.
“Building transit-oriented development – new homes, jobs, shops and services close to public transit – enables new residents to take the train or bus, and shop nearby as well, for all their daily necessities,” the report states.