Some are going to be surprised, others (including us) not at all. But based on almost 500 responses (okay, so 469) to our most recent reader survey, the average SocketSite reader is anything but (and you’re in good company).
In fact, the average household income of a SocketSite reader – 74% of whom live in San Francisco (92% in the Bay Area) – is over $200,000 (or almost three times the San Francisco average). The readership is highly educated with 95% having earned a college degree, and almost half (46%) holding a postgraduate degree.
The average reader is 37 (we’re not sure if that makes us feel young or old), and almost three quarters (72%) of you “plug in” to SocketSite on a daily basis (thank you). And while well over half (58%) already own property (with an average value of $1,165,000), 76% of the readers consider themselves “currently in the market” (with an average budget of well over $750,000).
Hopefully that provides some insight into who you are (and who you’re addressing when you leave a comment). And in terms of “what you think?” Well, you’re going to have to give us another couple of weeks to crunch the numbers on that one. (What can we say, it is summertime.)
Once again, our sincere thanks to everyone that participated in the survey. And as always, thank you for plugging in.
Twenty Easy Questions: Who Are You And What Do You Think? [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    Unfortunately, I didn’t participate in the survey, but being one of the regular readers of Sockesite, and also a member of the SF Res and over $200K group, the results don’t really surprise me given the quality and thoughtfulness of the comments to often see on the site.
    And before anyone can even say it, does that mean that someone who is not a SF resident and makes under $200K cannot give thoughtful, quality comments? Absolutely NOT, but I was just making the point that results are not all that surprising.

  2. Posted by Jamie

    Thank you for providing a great site – even for those of us with household income nowhere near the average from the survey. ;)

  3. Posted by anon

    With liar loans the rule rather than the exception, why would people reveal their true income on a real estate web site? Yeah, sign me up for the +200K club as well: I cleared $2 Mill last year……..

  4. Posted by anonymon

    Interesting but let’s not forget that the posters are not necessarily the people who answered this survey.
    Socketsite, what percentage is 496 of the total users? Also, would it be possible to compare IP addresses to see what correlation there is between people who post and people who took the survey?
    What was the highest real estate value someone claimed to own? One liar could easily skew the average.
    That being said, the numbers look like they are a little exaggerated. People like to puff themselves up. I would not think that the majority of people here are in the market for properties over 750k. The posts do not reflect that.
    Also, people would have an incentive to exaggerate their wealth and education. In the real estate world more wealth gives you more credibility. If everyone here said they can’t afford anything, are not educated, etc., who would take them or Socketsite seriously?

  5. Posted by Robert

    I would think that there would be no reason to provide false information in an anonymous survey. That being said, I’m 100% in the average (>$200k household income, postgraduate degree(s), already owning property (albeit, worth ~20% less than average) but I’m not “in the market” at this time, but if I were, I’d be in for about $1.5M.
    So I’d advise those here not to presume the results are inaccurate. That being said, one of the previous posters is correct in that displaying median figures and/or charts would hlep to determine whether there were any particularly bad apples that spoiled the bunch…

  6. Posted by Anonymous

    I find it interesting that the reactions to the initial set of results are disbelief that averages are so high. It serves no benefit for people to puff up their numbers as we all are interested in having meaningful data and insight into who are in the Socketsite community. I personally find that the results are right in line.

  7. Posted by Lori

    Thanks for the info. Some of us fall into your expected results but not all. I have a feeling that there are also those of us with $200K+ HHI but not willing to spend more than $750K on housing because 1) we don’t have a large chunk of cash available for a down payment (yet) and 2) we don’t want to eat ramen noodles after paying the mortgage required for a $750K+ place without that large down payment.
    Still, love the site, keep it coming.

  8. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “With liar loans the rule rather than the exception, why would people reveal their true income on a real estate web site? Yeah, sign me up for the +200K club as well: I cleared $2 Mill last year……..”
    I would generally tend to agree with the logic of this statement but assuming that the survey is anonymous, why would anyone have an incentive to lie about their household income?
    I sense a bit of insecurity here.
    If, on the other hand, you were asked for your name, address, and social security number, that might be different.

  9. Posted by anonymon

    “I find it interesting that the reactions to the initial set of results are disbelief that averages are so high. It serves no benefit for people to puff up their numbers as we all are interested in having meaningful data and insight into who are in the Socketsite community. I personally find that the results are right in line.”
    I am merely pointing out that stats like this have to be either taken with a BIG grain of salt or you have to dig deeper to take any real data from this. There are many ways that stats/studies/surveys can be misleading.

  10. Posted by anon

    Contrary to anonymous’ viewpoints, propreties over 750k do attract a ton of traffic and posts on Socketsite. Just read the Infinity vs. Palms debate or any of these new developments which average over $750k (such as the recent posts on 733 Front). Isn’t the average home in San Francisco right around $750k anyhow???
    I’ve suggested this site to at least 3 people and we all fit this demographic including myself. A further suggestive fact is that these post seem to be pretty right leaning for San Francisco. Certainly there are a lack of “save the BMR Trinity unit posts.” In any case, I’m sure there are a ton of folks with dual income households above $200k.

  11. Posted by Anon

    I didn’t complete the survey either, but I’m exactly in line with the median for everything except average home price. I agree that it’s tough to come up with a down payment, but on an income over $200K, it’s not that hard to afford the mortgage on a $700-800K home. The key is to minimize the luxury items (dinner out every night, BMW, etc.).
    Kudos to socketsite for the great demographic stats!

  12. Posted by Jamie

    yikes.. umm … just for the record, I have no question about the legitimacy of the answers given to the survey.

  13. Posted by fred

    You people will argue about anything…No we won’t…yes we will… ;)

  14. Posted by g

    It’s not surprising that a dual-income family working in SF/SV and interested in real estate in SF proper would have a $200k+ income.

  15. Posted by anon

    But, but, if this were Chicago everyone would have an income higher than 200K and every house would be less than 300K.
    Sorry :) It just cracks me up how much Chicago-envy there is from the posters on this site (usually used as a way to call out the high prices here, but it’s Chi-town envy nonetheless!)

  16. Posted by Anon

    Good info. Show’s why using the 75K SF median income vs. 750k median price doesn’t make sense. Household incomes in SF are actually much higher (almost 3X according to this survey), especially for those looking to purchase.

  17. Posted by Brutus

    Totally called the demographics of this site (Over Two hundy a year double income no kids) in this post a month ago :)
    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2007/05/weve_almost_got_a_line_another_data_point_at_2760_sacra.html#comments

  18. Posted by rg

    Did the survey specify if it’s a DUAL income household or not? I’m a daily reader who didn’t fill out the survey (sorry Socketsite). I am NO WHERE NEAR the average results. Maybe I’m not associating with the right people, but I can only think of TWO friends within my demo (30-37, single, male, college educated) who makes over $100k. Almost every one of my friends is an Ivy League grad: I’m from UCB, I have five friends with Masters of Arch from Columbia, two from Harvard, MPHs from Cornell/State and Berkeley, MBAs from UCB and MIT (over $100k), and Law from Cornell (over $100k). Also a handful of teachers from great colleges. I think most of us make about $50-60k.
    I also think that the “in the market for over $750k” question is a bit misleading. If the average home price in SF was $300k, than people wouldn’t be saying that. Five years ago I thought that $300k was outrageous, but I would have bought if I could find something for $200k. Then prices went up. Three years ago I thought that $500k was outrageous, but I would have bought if I could find something for $400k. Then prices went up. While I’m not in the “over 750k” range even today, I still say to myself, “If I could find a house for $600k, then I’ll buy!” None of these price ranges we put ourself into has anything to do with what we can afford or the human NEED for shelter – it’s all speculation. Whether you’re going to live there for 2 years or 20 years, we only buy in SF because we think it will make us money. Therefore, with every passing year and higher price, we CONVINCE ourselves we should buy something more and more expensive. It’s just not healthy.

  19. Posted by anon

    rg, do you or your friends work in the Tech industry? I wouldn’t think so, because anyone with a degree from the places you mention, at your age, with in-demand skills, in the tech industry will be making 90-120k. Toss in a significant other in the same industry, and bam! Most of my friends 27-30 are making around 100k 3-4 years out of grad school.

  20. Posted by John

    Agree with anon,
    Using the median income of the whole population doesn’t make sense. The meaningful number should be median income of the buyers/media price. After all, 70% of all households in SF are renters, and a lot of the onwers have had the house for a long time.
    Or, let’s look at the other number – percentage of households who can afford a median price home. That’s supposed to be 13% (or was that 18%?). However, if you get rid of the bottom 70% income households, that number would suddenly be 45%.
    I am not saying “if you rent, you must be poor”. I am saying with the high rent population, the usual affordability numbers aren’t very useful.

  21. Posted by Notsexy

    The Socketsite numbers are precise but NOT accurate. Only those with this narrow demographic will respond. Those who are making [under] 75k have other more important worries aside from the latest debate between ORH and Infinity such as rising inflation and balancing their finances. This site is a great avenue for information and banter but geared to the top 10% of the population.

  22. Posted by Morgan

    RG, being an architect also, you would understand how shocked some people at parties are when I explain how realtors can often walk away with more on the sale of a new home than an architect will in the design and construction observation. I ended up going into the developement side of architecture and doing Design-Build projects which is what finally allowed me to break away from years of making less than 100k and finally making enough to buy a home and start saving.

  23. Posted by Dan

    “A further suggestive fact is that these post seem to be pretty right leaning for San Francisco. Certainly there are a lack of ‘save the BMR Trinity unit posts.'”
    I have to disagree with this, from my recollection of the discussions. Most people here favored the approved deal, which preserved the existing low rents for current Trinty Plaza tenants, and added additional BMR units, as a win-win compromise supported by both Chris Daly and Angelo Sangiacomo.
    Most of the outrage was directed at Sups. McGoldrick and Maxwell, who initially opposed the compromise.

  24. Posted by kc

    Lori – I can second your comment. We fit well within the demographic on household income, but just can’t justify the monthly payments necessary for a house over $700k. And we’ve got no car payments or other debt, and a six-figure downpayment. Anon at 2:39 – you’re totally wrong. We’ve run the numbers, and even with our salaries, it requires giving up more than luxury items to pay for the median-priced home. It requires giving up retirement savings, and that we’re just not willing to do. Guess we’ll be renters until we can get the hell out of here . . .

  25. Posted by Poor Renter

    “Guess we’ll be renters until we can get the hell out of here . . . ”
    Because like any realtor will tell you – Renters are second-class citizens! No one wants to be a renter – why you ask? Cuz.
    I guess it’s just me, but I really don’t see much of a difference between renting a place in a large building and having a condo in a large building. Other than one lets me save via equity and one lets me save and invest in other ways. Now, if you’re talking about SFH’s, then there is a definite difference. Being able to have your own piece of land does have advantages – but condo owners and apartment renters oftentimes have a lot of the same restrictions.

  26. Posted by Anon

    KC, I won’t beat a dead horse, but with a $200K+ income ($17K per month) – I still maintain that it’s not that hard to pay for a mortgage in SF and still put away a good amount of savings every month. I do it, lots of my friends do it, and it sounds like many people on this board do as well. Buying real estate is a personal decision that’s not right for everyone, but it’s certainly affordable for a large portion of people who live in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, it’s unaffordable for an even larger group. OK, so now the horse is dead ;-)

  27. Posted by anon

    I find it comical that those of you who claim to be in the +$200k group have time to even post here during work hours. People with that range of income are usually doctors, lawyers, mid-high level managers. i.e. People who do not have time to read or post here. They would be too busy working.

  28. Posted by anon

    anon, oh how LITTLE you know about people making that much. Two income 200k includes half the couples in Silicon Valley.

  29. Posted by Brutus

    anon, funny stuff. Many people in that income group aren’t doctors/lawyers/managers and can set their own hours or at least work with some autonomy. No one is looking over my shoulder at work. If I need to work until 6 or 7 to finish what I need to do, I stay. I have deadlines, not work hours.

  30. Posted by Anon renter

    Hmm, it would have been interesting to learn how many readers have kids and are paying for daycare/school. Many in our circle (including us) meet the average SocketSite demographic profile but struggle with the prospect of juggling an $800k mortgage and annual daycare bills of $20k +.

  31. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “Did the survey specify if it’s a DUAL income household or not? I’m a daily reader who didn’t fill out the survey (sorry Socketsite). I am NO WHERE NEAR the average results. Maybe I’m not associating with the right people, but I can only think of TWO friends within my demo (30-37, single, male, college educated) who makes over $100k. Almost every one of my friends is an Ivy League grad: I’m from UCB, I have five friends with Masters of Arch from Columbia, two from Harvard, MPHs from Cornell/State and Berkeley, MBAs from UCB and MIT (over $100k), and Law from Cornell (over $100k). Also a handful of teachers from great colleges. I think most of us make about $50-60k.”
    If you’re an attorney working at a 1st tier or even a 2nd tier law firm, you’re going to be making well over $100K by the time you’re 30.
    A 25 year old first year attorney makes $160K. And I have to believe that MBA grads from top schools are making some pretty decent coins.
    The survey indicates that almost 50% of the participants has post-grad degrees.

  32. Posted by anonymon

    Some of these posts are great but a lot of them seem to come from people who have no idea of how data should be read. The information in this survey is nothing more than interesting unless we know more about it. This is a fact that can’t be argued.
    According to a lot of these posts, I guess you can throw real data out the window and just go with your feelings! Now that is useful data!

  33. Posted by anon18

    Ok….. I’ll bite. We are firmly in the “average” crowd here on socketsite. But no inheritances, no ivy league for us, we both went to state schools…. I have two degrees from SFSU thank you, paid the tuition myself with credit cards. Now I work, I have two kids in preschool ($20K for PART TIME) and we are closing in $300K in our household. Our salaries are fairly evenly matched. As the mom, I probably pull down a little more than Dad. Our house is worth $1.4M or so. We bought for $1M. I work full time, from home, or the office, wearing whatever I chose and coming and going at will for a very large, well known SF firm. I work hard but I have PLENTY of time to read Socketsite on the job and comment… plenty of money to pay my mortgage and childcare, even when we were closer to $200K than $300K. And we have a second home in Mexico, purchased last year. Own part of a house free and clear in Sea Ranch. SO. I’m familiar with the math…. $200K and can’t afford a $700 – $800K place……. that makes no sense to me. NONE. Living on $60K in SF is hard to comprehend too… that would be difficult.

  34. Posted by David

    anon18, I am pleased to be beyond your comprehension. I’m 30, have a Masters from Columbia, and I gave up the track to six figures in IT doing mindless crap so I could spend a few years doing biological research for UCSF. My wife teaches ESL, so we have a combined income of about $70,000. We rent, are sitting on a six figure down payment, and can’t afford a thing in this town.
    Personally, I think the data sound very believable. Two statistics would make the income data much more informative: the median is usually more informative than the mean, since it’s much less susceptible to outliers (“I make six gazillion dollars a year!”). The standard deviation of the income values would give you a rough idea with one number whether most of the survey-takers were right around the mean or if instead there’s a very wide variety of answers.

  35. Posted by anonymon

    “Two statistics would make the income data much more informative: the median is usually more informative than the mean, since it’s much less susceptible to outliers (“I make six gazillion dollars a year!”). The standard deviation of the income values would give you a rough idea with one number whether most of the survey-takers were right around the mean or if instead there’s a very wide variety of answers.”
    Good points! Finally.

  36. Posted by uncle festus

    This is creepily reminiscent of “Penthouse Forum”…

  37. Posted by SFhighrise

    With my combined household income, I am approaching that median, although not quite there. We’re only 30 though, so I guess that’s not too bad for our age group. The thing is that we aren’t anywhere close to affording a place in the city. We could most likely swing the monthly payments, but with all of our incomes going into rent and other things in SF (like the great restaurants), we’re having difficulty saving much for a down payment at this time.

  38. Posted by rg

    anon18 – my question for you is: When did you buy this $1 million dollar San Francisco home and why are you so certain that it is now worth $1.4 million? What if it is actually only worth $500k, because you over-paid in a speculative market? What if it’s one of these homes trying to sell for $1.4 and being reduced monthly? Have you noticed that Zillow is now “zestimating” many houses as depreciating in SF?
    It just puzzles me why EVERYONE who owns in SF does these mental computations about how much they spent vs. how many MONTHS they’ve owned it and WALLAH!, “I’m worth a half million more!”
    I’ve said this before: it’s ALL a local thing. My best friend in Chicago (a lawyer making $200k) and her chiropractor husband (don’t know his salary) – combined they are probably making well over $300k. They bought a condo in Chicago a year ago. Their TOP price was about $350k (for which they bought a gorgeous, brand new 2/2 in a wonderful neighborhood). $350k was a price that they felt was the most that they should spend on housing in order to still have a good life of travel, dinners out, etc. A San Franciscian would think that this is crazy, but that’s only because we’ve been desensitized to these high prices. We now think that a $500k SFR should look like a burnt-out shack in the Bayview and that a $1 million condo is a 1/1 in NOPA. It’s amazing that San Franciscians call themselves so “worldly,” but seem to have no idea that the rest of the world is spending half as much to get three times more.

  39. Posted by anom

    You are exactly right RG! A girl in my office and her husband’s combined income is 30% less than mine, and yet they bought an $850,000 condo! I bought my home 10 years ago for $450,000 and if I had to buy in today’s market, I would never be able to go on ski trips or out to dinner again. I was able to pay down my loan to where I own my house “clear” and have little debt. It drives her crazy that I don’t “take advantage” of my equity.

  40. Posted by redseca2

    Although my personal income is still “sub-optimal” to 200K, the figure doesn’t impress me as a very high household figure.
    In the mid ’90’s I was sharing a 4 bedroom flat in the Haight where the combined income of four individual flat mates exceeded 200K. I would point this out in each mindless argument about whose turn it was to buy paper towel. I was only half joking with them when I suggested that after we learned to resolve paper towels, we go in together on a place at Sea Ranch.

  41. Posted by anon

    anon18 – you can kiss your vacations goodbye when your kids hit elementary school. +$40k for 2 kids in private, unless you don’t mind public schools. Don’t forget you’ll need to donate to the school fund every year too. I’m not talking just a few dollars.

  42. Posted by Jamie

    I lived in Michigan most of my life. When the temperature approaches freezing, it is important to really love your home since you’ll likely be sitting in it for a few months of the year.

  43. Posted by anonymon

    “It’s amazing that San Franciscians call themselves so “worldly,” but seem to have no idea that the rest of the world is spending half as much to get three times more.”
    That’s if you compare us to a city like Chicago.
    Compared to Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, and some parts of New York and Los Angeles, we are still getting okay deals.

  44. Posted by SFhighrise

    I second Jamie’s point. Chicago is in fact a great city, with great architecture, beauty, amenities, etc. True, it is much less expensive than SF, but there’s a reason. The winters out there are not pleasant. Many people see the cost/benefit of cheaper real estate worth it and choose to relocate there. Others, like myself, are willing to pay a lot more and have a lower standard of living (in monetary terms), for a higher standard of living (for outdoor recreation, cultural terms).

  45. Posted by Anon1999

    Lori and KC,
    We are quite in line with the survey results. However, we do not want to spend a fortune on housing. We currently rent a single family home in the heart of the city, we have a nice size yard and a two car garage. I would have to pay twice my rent amount as mortgage, to buy the very same place we are renting.
    Until we can find a similar place in our price range, we are quite happy to continue renting.
    And as those of us who have owned a home or two can attest to, the associated expenses can add up pretty quickly.

  46. Posted by g

    “That’s if you compare us to a city like Chicago.”
    Compared to Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, and some parts of New York and Los Angeles, we are still getting okay deals.”
    That kind of begs the question of whether San Francisco really should be compared to London and NYC and whether it’s more deserving of being in that group than a Chicago.

  47. Posted by anonymon

    I have been to Hong Kong, London, New York, and Los Angeles this year.
    If it is quality of life, food and culture then I do think SF is comparable. The economy does not seem as robust in SF but I also think SF beats the other cities in weather, fresh air and nature. So I guess it depends on what you like.
    There is one factor where all the other cities beat SF hands down. Woman.

  48. Posted by Brutus

    I really think there must be someone from the Chicago Chamber of Commerce posting on here. the level of Chicago-envy is off the charts.
    I’ve been to Chicago, many times – great city, don’t get me wrong. But the weather sucks and the job market for my line of work is nothing compared to here. If I could get a job there, I would make half as much, making that $300,000 place seem a lot more expensive than it seems now. Not saying everyone would make half as much – for those waiting to skewer me for that statement – I’m saying that I probably couldn’t even find a job fitting my skills, and if I did, it would be something paying far less.

  49. Posted by anon18

    - don’t live in sf, live in Piedmont, moved from Baja Noe but did not sell the flat…. houses here are selling today at a rapid clip with pre-emptive offers the norm. The $1.4M is conservative and was what was provided to us by the lender on the recent HELOC we got. (And NO we have not used it, just got it at the advice of a financial planner).
    – Piedmont = NO private schools.
    But for the record I attended bad schools in east san jose growing up and I don’t really think the **fear** of public schools is warranted. Parents can parent their kids through it, rather than simply outsourcing a meaningful educational experience to Convent or SF Day.
    We don’t drive fancy cars…. am not into the car thing much. So there’s an extra $800/mo saved in payments, insurance, etc.

  50. Posted by John

    With 200K yearly income, an 1M house (let’s say 100% financing) costs about $4000/month after tax deduction. Keep in mind you are in AMT (we all are, with that much income) and the tax deduction is limited to 1M.
    If you rent the same house, it probably costs $3000 to $3500. So buying costs more, but not that more. There is absolutely no reason a couple making 200K cannot afford a 750K house, or even a 1M house, or a 750K condo.
    And I suspect a lot of people do the same math around April 15th, and drove up the demand for 1M to 1.5M houses this year (and probably every year)

  51. Posted by SFhighrise

    John,
    Are they still allowing 100% financing nowadays with the problems in the mortgage market?
    With 100% LTV, don’t you need to either pay PMI’s or take out a high interest 2nd mortgage?
    Are you also taking into account the $600-700 per month for the HOA and the $800 per month for property taxes?
    I was just curious where you got your numbers.

  52. Posted by anon

    It is still quite easy to get 100% financing if you have 200k in verifiable income. I’m unsure on your other questions.

  53. Posted by redseca2

    John at 3:47:
    I find your numbers too optimistic. As a quick experiment, I went to the Zephyr real estate site and found myself a nice $995,000 house in Noe Valley.
    http://www.zephyr-re.com/listingdetail.cfm?ID=5449
    Using their mortage calculator, and 0-percent down, I got $7950 a month including SF County Taxes and insurance, but excluding condo fees. A condo with a basic HOA would be about $8500, if you get a doorman and fresh flowers in the lobby, expect $9000.
    Now, their calaculator assumed a 7-percent fixed rate. Skipping loans with teaser start up rates, if the fixed was 6-percent, you drop to $7350.

  54. Posted by anon

    redseca2, you forgot to factor in tax deduction.

  55. Posted by redseca2

    anon at 4:27,
    No I did not forget the tax deduction for mortgage interest, because I wasn’t trying to compare renting versus buying. I assume we all will get a tax break within the limitations of the tax codes.

  56. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “With 200K yearly income, an 1M house (let’s say 100% financing) costs about $4000/month after tax deduction. Keep in mind you are in AMT (we all are, with that much income) and the tax deduction is limited to 1M.”
    What are you talking about? There is no limitation under the AMT for personal mortgage interest. And I’ll bet the ranch on that. The only personal real estate limitation that kicks in under the AMT is for property taxes.

  57. Posted by anon

    anonymon –
    There is no way I would compare London to San Francisco. And yes, I have been to London many times.

  58. Posted by anon

    I would definitely compare Chicago to London though! Except that it’s waaaaay better.

  59. Posted by anon

    San Francisco will never win if it tries to play the “world class city” game. It can win if it instead emphasizes what is unique about our area. Instead of comparing us to New York and Chicago, show instead what they don’t have like Napa, Mount Tam, the Bay, Highway One, etc. Let New York and Chicago have more subways and towers, I live here for the weather, the mountains, the food, and the people. In a city whose number one employer is tourism, we should emphasize that we are nor like London or Chicago, but instead unique.

  60. Posted by anon

    Agreed anon – but I should point out – tourism may be our number one employer, but many of those employees don’t live in the city – and many people employed in other cities (in other industries) live in SF.

  61. Posted by PVilly

    John at 3:47
    If your financing 100% you are effectively renting as no principal is being paid down. The only thing you have achieved under that scenario is a leverage bet on the real estate market — both positive and negative.

  62. Posted by anon

    Very interesting list indeed:
    12 point cities: London, NYC, Tokyo, Paris
    10 point cities: Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, LA, Milan, Singapore
    9 point cities: SF, Sydney, Toronto, Zurich
    I’m sad that Buenos Aires and Barcelona only got four points. Those are great cities.

  63. Posted by anon helper

    The 2004 list puts SF in the top 5 worldwide, with only London, LA, Paris, and NYC.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city#GaWC_Leading_World_Cities.2C_2004

  64. Posted by Irrational Exuberance

    Since we are almost precisely the median reader–income in the 200s, post-grad degrees, blah, blah, blah, an, more importantly, just bought after a very long time looking, I thought I’d chime in here.
    On the “can $200k per year afford to buy question,” YES, absolutely. But the idea above is that it’s a lifestyle decision. If you like to spend $100++ on dinner every couple days and drive a luxury, then it could be a pinch, but it’s still doable. If you don’t need that lifestyle, then it’s quite easy, assuming you don’t have a slew of other debt. For us, it was any easy decision: rent for $3k or buy for $750k. Run the numbers, factor in the 33% fed tax bracket, and it becomes a rather simple decision. That we got a great deal (with a pre-emptive offer in a hot neighborhood), and it was a no-brainer.
    I’ve long been a bear on the real estate market, but this survey confirmed my suspicion. When you look at the median price: median income ratio at 10:1 in SF, it looks like things are WAY out of balance. BUT…when you look at something like 20% of households own (let’s say there are 300k housefolds in SF), that’s 60,000 households. I imagine there are well over 60k households in SF that make 150k+. So the market for buyers would seem to be reasonably robust.
    HOWEVER, to anon at 4:22 and followers, it’s dang near impossible to get 100% financing now. I wanted to leverage this purchase as much as possible, and we barely got away with 5% down. 10% was going to be tough enough. But even at 5% the interest rate starts to creep up. So the idea of 100% financing seems to be a thing of the past, and as a result, I would expect the bottom part of the market–that area around $600-750k, to feel a little pain. But that’s merely my conjecture.

  65. Posted by anonymon

    “There is no way I would compare London to San Francisco. And yes, I have been to London many times.”
    And I have lived in London.
    In any case, I was talking about real estate values and quality of life. Why don’t you read my posts again…
    “Compared to Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, and some parts of New York and Los Angeles, we are still getting okay deals.”
    “If it is quality of life, food and culture then I do think SF is comparable. The economy does not seem as robust in SF but I also think SF beats the other cities in weather, fresh air and nature. So I guess it depends on what you like.”

  66. Posted by Willow

    Another interesting link…World’s most liveable cities:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_Most_Livable_Cities

  67. Posted by John

    PVilly
    I am using 100% financing to make the comparison easier. If you put 20% down, of course the monthly expense is lower. However, then you have to factor in the oppotunity cost of that 20% down.
    Irrational Exuberance
    I am sure any household making 200K in CA is in AMT, with AMT tax rate at 28% or 28% x 1.25 = 35%(due to lost tax deductions when income increases above certain point). Also, you need to factor in the 8% CA tax. The best way is to use TurboTax and run some numbers.

  68. Posted by fred

    Minor correction – the Cal. state income tax is 9.3% on taxable income of $43,468 and above. See:
    http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/edit/state/profiles/state_tax_Cal.asp

  69. Posted by anon
  70. Posted by Irrational Exuberance

    OK, so it’s even more of a no-brainer… :p

  71. Posted by Morgan

    All of these city surveys being posted (I am not sure what all this fuss is over whether San Francisco reigns supreme) seem to show that I need to take another trip to Vancouver! It is rated near the top or at the top on all of them. Maybe it is the promised land? If I were young I would be packing my bags for Australia or Canada. Sydney still is the most impressive city I have ever visited.

  72. Posted by morgan checker

    vancouver is very cool place, but not a “world city” if you look at that list that was posted here – only 2 points. it is also getting pretty expensive up there too – not as much as here, but a lot more than many people seem to think. just goes to show that people do want urban envirnments to live in instead of just a white picket fence and seven car garage.

  73. Posted by morgan checker

    some comments from two years ago on the vancouver real estate market – and it has continued to spiral upwards:
    http://www.discovervancouver.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10771

  74. Posted by HonestQ

    I have a question about mortgage tax deduction. Hopefully someone can answer.
    Is it true that you can deduct only interest based off $1,000,000 mortgage max? And the interest off of a $100,000 HELOC for a total interest deduction based off $1.1 million in indebtedness?
    I ask b/c how does Turbotax, HR Block, etc know? You could have a 30% interest rate on a $500,000 mortgage = $150,000 interest/yr vs. a 5% interest rate on $2,000,000/yr = $100,000 interest. Does this mean based on the rule (if true), one cannot deduct $100,000 in interest off income (and only $50,000), but the person borrowing $500,000 can deduct $150,000?
    Thanks for any clarification. Regarding the survey results, i’m surprised people are surprised. I think it’s just like when you see the Car Opinions online. Usually only people who have something to say (love it, or massive lemon problems) say something.

  75. Posted by notoleranceforstufflikethis

    Maybe I’m not associating with the right people, but I can only think of TWO friends within my demo (30-37, single, male, college educated) who makes over $100k. Almost every one of my friends is an Ivy League grad: …I think most of us make about $50-60k.
    Yeah, you’re definitely associating with the wrong people. You are stuck in the past thinking these illustrious names will equate to large incomes. Do yourself a favor and hang out with some different people.

  76. Posted by John

    fred,
    Thanks for the correction. I thought it was around 9% but too lazy to look up.
    So, let’s do the calculation again:
    1M mortage at 6.5% (you can do lower): $65K/year.
    Marginal rate (fed + state): 26% x 1.25 = 42% (of course, depending on your income level)
    Property tax on 1M property: 12K/year
    Total cost:50K/year, or 4200/month.
    Add insurance and other misc: 4500/month
    If you can get better mortgage rate, and your AMT bracket is in the 28% x 1.25 range, this number drops to about $4200 – probably 20% to 30% higher than renting.
    However, I realize a lot of people on socket are looking into condos. Add $500 to $1000 HOA, the expense of buying will almost be twice as much as renting. That’s why I believe the condo market is way over priced, while the SFH market is just marginally over priced.
    RinconHill_Res
    The 1M limit applies to both regular income tax code and AMT, at least all my research has shown that. I would be extremely excited if this limit doesn’t apply in AMT. Can you provide a link?

  77. Posted by RinconHill_Res

    “The 1M limit applies to both regular income tax code and AMT, at least all my research has shown that. I would be extremely excited if this limit doesn’t apply in AMT. Can you provide a link?”
    Just to clarify, the limitation applies to any mortgage interest paid on mortgage debt in excess of $1MM, but that limitation has nothing to do with the AMT, that’s just a general limitation.
    Now, that said, if anyone actually has a mortgage in excess of $1MM, then you SHOULD have your deductions limited because you’re wealthy enough to afford such a mortgage without having other taxpayers subsidize the excess deductions.

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