Silicon Valley homeownership: Pretty much forget it, if you’re a millennial

Surprise, surprise.

Young people can’t afford to buy homes in Silicon Valley.

The folks at Earnest – the San Francisco-based lender – report that millennials in the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas have the lowest rates of homeownership in the nation: 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The Los Angeles and New York metros follow at 8 percent in the analysis, based on data from Earnest’s loan applicants.

Compare those dreary numbers with other metros where millennials (ages 18-35) are faring better: Miami (where 16 percent own homes), Seattle (17 percent), Houston (27 percent), Salt Lake City (32 percent) and St. Louis (35 percent).

“The high cost of homeownership is delaying buying among those aged 25-35, the years when home buying accelerates,” Earnest tells us. The dismal San Francisco and San Jose ownership rates stand in contrast to another set of numbers: “These job hubs also have the highest median incomes in Earnest’s data-set for this age range: $81,000 in San Francisco and $86,000 in San Jose, as compared with $56,000 across the U.S. overall.”

To complete the picture, the analysis looked at the age threshold in each metro when 25 percent own their own home. Topping the list is San Jose, where it’s not until age 42.5 that 25 percent own homes; the metro (which includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties) also has the highest median home cost, $958,000, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. In San Francisco, 25 percent own homes by age 42, while the median home cost is $812,000. (The San Francisco metro includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin counties.)

You can look at various charts and read Earnest’s report here.

Sorry, but if you live in California, you just won’t feel encouraged by this national analysis: “Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Riverside are also among the 15 least affordable metros, both by highest median home costs and by highest age when 25 percent own.”


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  • Frank Malloy

    You want to blame someone? Blame Apple, Google, and Facebook – you know, those tech behemoths that are hiring thousands and building humongous spaceship complexes in our small valley and who are oh-so-loved by everyone.

    There are only so many houses that fit between the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Bay, and mountain ranges on either side, and thanks to all that growth the value of all these houses have skyrocketed. A fixer-upper will run you more than a million.

    So to the millennials who just scored that sweet coding job – you can’t afford a house, blame your hot tech company.

    • Mshafty

      Well its an assortment of reasons. One is years of anti development, foreign money buying up real estate, boomers staying in their homes because its cheaper than down sizing, student loans (makes it harder for young people to save) and yes the tech boom. Also its just a small area with little availability.

  • Mood_Indigo

    I am sure smart millennials are buying 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom condos as starter homes. The rest would be in the whining chorus led by columnists like the one above.

    • Mshafty

      Yep. 31 year old here you bought a home in 2012 and am now selling it and rolling into my extremely overpriced house. Plenty of us are doing it.

  • mysoreman

    Why would they need house? Google et al provide food to eat, space to crash at night(sleeping bag in office) and shower at gym. And they are happy to be in campus 24hrs a day/ 7days a week…

  • Alan

    Price follows desirability. It is that simple.

  • FresnoUser

    New homes that would sell for a million plus dollars in the bay area can be bought for $300,000 in Fresno, and pretty soon you’ll be able to commute to the bay area quickly on the new high speed rail. I see this as the wave of the future.

    • hoapres

      Not going to happen.

  • hoapres


  • Mark

    The problem in the Silicon Valley is the long-established Indian-American landlords basically “pac-manning” all of the available housing units for rental purposes with large amounts of cheap credit. Throw in relatively vigorous demand from the foreign nationals that are hired to work in the SV tech companies (because not very many Americans are actually being hired), and you have what essentially amounts to a very tight situation for US citizens who may want to get into home ownership.

    As the tech sector comes back down to Earth and businesses that aren’t particularly useful nor profitable are excised from the economy in the next tech crash (coming very soon!), these landlords will basically have their proverbial butts handed to them.

  • Matt Dillon

    Don’t worry, a good old fashion recession in 2017 should do the trick for our bubble economy. Look at the numbers, it’s already starting to happen