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Bay Area Income Rising Along with Housing Costs

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Bay Area Income Rising Along with Housing Costs

Vital Signs Data Highlights Bay Area’s Booming Economy – with Incomes Rising and Housing Costs Increasing

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today updated nine performance indicators on the San Francisco Bay Area economy. The latest Vital Signs release underscores robust economic conditions in the region, with economic output reaching a new record of over $722 billion in 2015. Unemployment has continued to decline and real median household income reached its highest levels since 2008.

Professional and business services, as well as education & health services, continue to lead regional job creation and have become ever more important to the overall regional economy. The information sector, specifically web-related businesses in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, have grown 20 percent in the past two years and are increasingly concentrated in the Bay Area relative to the rest of the country.

The latest data also reveals the region’s economic disparities. Several Bay Area cities, such as Vallejo, continue to experience unemployment rates over eight percent, which is more than twice the regional average. An expanded income analysis also highlights growing gaps between the rich, middles class, and poor, with San Francisco the prime example of this trend. The data shows high-wage workers increasingly living in the city, the middle class getting priced out, and some lower-income residents able to remain only because of the development of affordable housing.

The economic boom has also contributed to explosive growth in Bay Area home prices and rent payments, which remain the highest in the nation. Homes in eastern Contra Costa County and Solano County are the least expensive options for area home buyers, but with 2015 median home sale prices at around $300,000, costs are still higher than peer metros including Miami and Chicago. This release also marked the debut of a new indicator on List Rents – the advertised price for available rental housing – which shows the cost of housing for new renters in the Bay Area has increased nearly 45 percent since 2010.