Housing Affordability

San Bernardino Remains Most Affordable County in SoCal

An adequate supply of affordable housing promotes homeownership, which increases stability for families and communities, and can provide long-term financial benefits that renting cannot. Affordable housing encourages young workers to move to, or remain in, San Bernardino County and low relative housing prices can attract and retain businesses. This indicator uses the California Association of Realtors First-Time Buyer Housing Affordability Index to measure the percentage of households that can afford the existing single-family detached home at the entry-level price of 85% of median in San Bernardino County and compares the minimum qualifying income for an entry-level home to the annual incomes of common or growing occupations. Homeownership rates are also shown.

An adequate supply of affordable housing promotes homeownership.

How is San Bernardino County Doing?


San Bernardino County remained the most housing affordable county in Southern California as of the first quarter of 2020. The minimum qualifying income needed to purchase a median-priced, entry-level single-family home ($296,250) in San Bernardino County was approximately $42,000 as of the first quarter of 2020. At 69%, a majority of San Bernardino County households could afford an entry-level single-family home in the first quarter of 2020, slightly higher than the 67% able to afford an entry-level home in the first quarter of 2019, but substantially less than the 87% 10-years ago in 2011.


Percentage of Households Able to Afford Entry-Level Single-Family Home in San Bernardino County, Neighboring Counties, and California, 2011-2020

Note: Data are from the first quarter of the years presented.

Source: California Association of Realtors (www.car.org)

Based on average salaries in common or growing occupations, home health aides, retail salespersons, home health aides, and transportation and materials moving workers would not qualify for an entry-level home.


Average Salaries for Growth Occupations and Minimum Qualifying Income to Afford Home Priced at 85% of Median in San Bernardino County, 2020

Note: The data for Home Health Aide average salary now includes Personal Care Aides. Data for Home Health Aides should not be compared with years prior to 2020.

Sources: California Employment Development Department, Occupational Employment Statistics (www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/oes-employment-and-wages.html) California Association of Realtors (www.car.org)

San Bernardino County’s homeownership rate dropped to 60% in 2019, down slightly from 61% in 2019 but a three-percentage point gain from the 10-year low of 57%. The 2019 rate of 60% is four percentage points below the homeownership rate of 64% in 2009 – a period in history marked by lenient and, in some cases, predatory lending practices, which likely contributed to the higher rate of homeownership.


Percentage of Households Owning Their Own Home in San Bernardino County, California, and the United States, 2010-2019

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates, Table DP04 (data.census.gov)


San Bernardino County housing has consistently been more affordable than peer Southern California counties and the statewide average. In 2020, San Bernardino County was considerably more affordable than the statewide entry-level single-family home price of $500,820, which required a qualifying income of $76,500. Additionally, 69% of San Bernardino County households could afford an entry-level single-family home in 2020, compared to 52% in California and 41% in Orange County.

San Bernardino County’s 2019 homeownership rate is above the California rate of 55% but below the nationwide homeownership rate of 64%.

Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity

Homeownership is an important driver of wealth for US households. The economic and financial benefits of homeownership have been uneven across demographic groups and may partly explain why Latino or Black family average wealth lags behind White family wealth. In San Bernardino County, the Black homeownership rate in 2018 was 37.5% compared to 68.1% for White households for a homeownership gap of 30.6 between Black and White households. The Latino homeownership rate in 2018 was 53.7% for a homeownership gap of 14.4 between Latino and White households.

Source: Ford, Carmen. Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity. NAHB Economics and Housing Policy Group. Special Studies March 1, 2018.

1The California Association of Realtors defines the parameters for the First-Time Buyer Housing Affordability Index: 10% down and a 1-year adjustable-rate mortgage, including points and fees, based on Freddy Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.