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When it comes to budgeting housing costs, traditional financial guidance dictates spending no more than 30 percent of the household’s income. For many homeowners and renters in San Diego County, that guidance has become, at the very least, an idealistic rule of thumb that’s difficult or impossible to follow in this region.

Last week in the story I wrote about the middle class, I reported these 2005 census statistics:

  • Forty-nine percent of San Diego County’s mortgaged homeowner households spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.
  • Fifty-five percent of renting households spent more than the 30-percent mark.

For the county, the median household income in 2005 was $56,335. And the median home price was $552,000.

To break it down a bit further, I looked at each of those categories for the following smaller areas: Carlsbad, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, San Diego city and Vista. I also compared those places to three cities in Riverside County that have proved lucrative for San Diego households feeling priced out: Hemet, Temecula and Murrieta.

Here’s what I found. Keep in mind these data are from 2005:

Carlsbad

  • Median household income: $78,037
  • Median home price: $672,600
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (45 percent), Renters (57 percent)

Chula Vista

  • Median household income: $55,610
  • Median home price: $565,100
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (55 percent), Renters (64 percent)

El Cajon

  • Median household income: $47,050
  • Median home price: $416,400
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (57 percent), Renters (56 percent)

Oceanside

  • Median household income: $55,382
  • Median home price: $500,500
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (54 percent), Renters (56 percent)

San Diego city

  • Median household income: $55,637
  • Median home price: $566,700
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (46 percent), Renters (53 percent)

Vista

  • Median household income: $49,294
  • Median home price: $470,300
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (49 percent), Renters (61 percent)

Now, for those spots in the Inland Empire. For these ones, the median price per square foot would probably make a better comparison. Check out my blogger buddy Rich Toscano’s explanation of this measure over in Nerd’s Eye View. A big reason people are moving to the IE is because they can afford more house for less money, but the census data is just the general median price.

Hemet

  • Median household income: $32,060
  • Median home price: $196,600
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (58 percent), Renters (69 percent)

Temecula

  • Median household income: $67,903
  • Median home price: $457,900
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (52 percent), Renters (71 percent)

Murrieta

  • Median household income: $63,028
  • Median home price: $466,100
  • Share of households paying more than 30 percent of income: Mortgaged homeowners (55 percent), Renters (64 percent)

Check out the graphs on the side for a visual representation of these numbers.

KELLY BENNETT

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