Only 1 Home for Every 19 New Jobs in San Mateo

According to a new report just released by the Housing Leadership Council (HLC) of San Mateo County, from 2010 to 2015 there was only one new home built for every 19 jobs created in the county,  During those 5 years, 72,800 jobs were created but only 3844 housing units were built.  According to the report, this is one of the biggest challenges for small businesses in the area.  When rent goes up, wages, especially in service businesses cannot keep pace.  The result is that small businesses have a harder time attracting and retaining talent and a large number of people on the lower end of the salary scale end up commuting in to the county to work.

Further, the report shows that while half of workers in San Mateo county make less than $50,000 per year, they are 40% of the workers commuting into the county.  State projections for job growth indicate that about 45% of the new jobs in San Mateo County over the next 6 years will have salaries of less than $65,000 per year.

New mixed use residential construction and a micro park near the Hillsdale Mall
New mixed use residential construction and a micro park near the Hillsdale Mall

The housing affordability gap is growing.  In San Mateo County, the median home price in April 2018 was $1.63 million.  According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the annual income needed to afford that median home price, with 10% down, is $382,960.  However, the median income in San Mateo County in about $118,400.  Furthermore, based on the salary figures for the county, there is an extreme lack of supply of even affordable apartments to rent.

Affordability of housing, a lack of housing supply matched to demand and a lack of adequate public transportation lead to displacement, HLC goes on to say,  the impacts of which are regional in nature.  San Mateo workers displace lower income Alameda anf Contra Costa county workers, who in turn displace others in communities not benefiting from the tech boom and higher attendant incomes.  All of this results in more people living further away from the places they work which creates not only longer drive times for these workers, but more cars on the road resulting in longer drive times for everyone.

In a previous article on, we reported on a report from the Bay Area Council which indicated that 46% of people surveyed planned to leave the Bay Area citing traffic congestion and the housing crises as main reasons.

This recent report by the HLC concludes that San Mateo’s worsening housing and traffic crises are linked and that a concerted, integrated set of solutions should be adopted to address both.  You can read more of the report and the HLC’s recommendations here.

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