It’s official: The San Francisco bay area is so pricey that a six-figure salary is considered ‘Low Income’


It makes sense that the most sought-after cities come with very high price tags. Mild year-round weather, easy access to mountains and beaches, a hip foodie scene, beautiful views and iconic landmarks are just some of the things that make the San Francisco Bay Area a popular place to live.

However, there’s a big downside to living in such an attractive place: The Bay Area also boasts one of the highest living costs in the country.

For anyone actively trying to move to the San Francisco Bay Area, the recent news from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is pretty concerning. According to the department’s “income limits,” which is the minimum income level to be considered for affordable housing programs, “low income” is $117,400 per year for a family of four in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. Moreover, “very low income” is $73,300.


While this shouldn’t come as a surprise to residents who are used to the exorbitant cost of living in the area, for the majority of Americans, these numbers are staggering.

With the median home price in the Bay Area hitting a record high of $935,000 in May, some are speculating that a mass exodus of San Francisco residents might be around the corner. According to a migration report by real estate site Redfin earlier this year, San Francisco — along with New York and Los Angeles — posted the highest net outflows.

“People leaving coastal hubs in search of affordability has been a consistent trend for the last five years,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson.


Popular cities to relocate to include Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Nashville. Why? Lower taxes and more affordable housing. Some areas of the U.S. are even offering financial incentives to bring in more residents.

When it comes to living costs, do you think the positives of living in of the Bay Area outweigh the negatives?

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About the Author
Chelsea Davis
Chelsea is a freelance journalist based in New York City whose passion revolves around traveling the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine. Follow her on Instagram at @cheycheyfromthebay and keep up with her latest work at

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