The share of Bay Area households spending upwards of a third of their incomes on housing has steadily increased since 1980. The housing boom and bust cycles between 2000 and 2010 resulted in the greatest volatility in housing affordability in recent decades, raising the share of cost-burdened households in the Bay Area from 27 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2010. Fortunately, the strong economic recovery, combined with mortgage refinancing opportunities, has helped ease housing affordability challenges for many Bay Area households in more recent years. This easing has been felt primarily by homeowners rather than renters.
While the housing cost burden spike of the 2000s has subsided for homeowners, renters are experiencing some of the worst conditions on record. In 2013, the percentage of Bay Area renters considered excessively cost-burdened remained above 40 percent. Homeowners fared better in this key gauge of cost burden, with less than a quarter spending more than the affordability threshold (35 percent of income).