Housing affordability in California hit a 16-year low in the second quarter of 2023, according to new figures released by the California Association of Realtors.

The startling numbers come as interest rates continue to stagnate above 6% and home prices remain inflated due to a lack of inventory.

The data show that fewer than one in five people, 16% to be exact, can afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in the Golden State. Those second-quarter numbers are down from 19% in the first quarter of 2023.

For comparison, in the first quarter of 2012, the percentage of home buyers who could purchase a median-priced single-family home in California was as high as 56%.

Equally surprising, the CAR numbers indicated that a minimum income of $208,000 was needed to qualify to purchase a median-priced home, which costs around $830,000.

And if you can qualify for the mortgage, you can expect monthly payments of around $5,200, assuming you put forth 20% for the standard down payment and qualified for an interest rate of around 6.6%.

Condos and townhomes in California are less expensive than they were a year ago, but again prices have gone up in the second quarter of 2023. The CAR found that only 25% of Californians could afford a condominium or townhome in the second quarter of 2023, requiring an annual income of more than $160,000 with monthly payments of around $4,000 on a median-priced unit.

The California Association of Realtors tracks home affordability and its quarterly reports are considered a “fundamental measure of housing well-being for home buyers in the state,” the association says.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the nation, more than one-third of Americans could afford to purchase a median-priced home, needing an annual income of just north of $100,000 with payments of around $2,500.

Not all areas of California are unattainable for the average resident, the CAR data shows. In Lassen County, the most affordable county in the state, around 52% of residents can afford to purchase a home. It was the only county in California with an affordability rating higher than 50%.

Siskiyou, Plumas, Shasta and Tehama counties rounded out the top five most affordable counties.

The least affordable counties in California are the usual suspects. Mono County, home to Mammoth Lakes, is the least affordable county in the state, with only 5% of residents able to qualify for a home purchase. Santa Barbara (10%), San Luis Obispo (11%) and Monterey and Orange County (12%, respectively), close out the top five.

Los Angeles County came in at 15% in the housing affordability index. San Bernardino County was the most affordable county in Southern California, with an affordability rating of 30%.

The complete breakdown of California’s Housing Affordability Index from the California Association of Realtors is below:

STATE/REGION/COUNTYQtr. 22023Qtr. 12023 Qtr. 22022Median Home PriceMonthly Payment Including Taxes & InsuranceMinimum Qualifying Income
Calif. Single-family homes1619r17r$830,620$5,200$208,000
Calif. Condo/Townhomes2526 25 $640,000$4,010$160,400
Los Angeles Metro Area1719 17 $760,000$4,760$190,400
Inland Empire2224 24 $570,000$3,570$142,800
San Francisco Bay Area1921 18 $1,300,000$8,150$326,000
United States3640 38 $402,600$2,520$100,800
San Francisco Bay Area        
Alameda1618 15 $1,275,000$7,990$319,600
Contra Costa2329r23r$900,000$5,640$225,600
Marin1620 17 $1,770,000$11,090$443,600
Napa1920 16r$855,000$5,360$214,400
San Francisco2021 17 $1,611,000$10,090$403,600
San Mateo1719 15 $2,012,500$12,610$504,400
Santa Clara1821 18 $1,800,000$11,280$451,200
Solano2628 28 $592,750$3,710$148,400
Sonoma1618 17 $850,000$5,330$213,200
Southern California        
Los Angeles1517 16 $789,400$4,950$198,000
Orange1212 12 $1,250,000$7,830$313,200
Riverside2022 21 $625,000$3,920$156,800
San Bernardino3030 30 $456,500$2,860$114,400
San Diego1315 14 $942,350$5,900$236,000
Ventura1417 15 $915,000$5,730$229,200
Central Coast        
Monterey1212 13 $865,370$5,420$216,800
San Luis Obispo1112 12 $880,000$5,510$220,400
Santa Barbara1015 10 $1,195,000$7,490$299,600
Santa Cruz1314 13 $1,270,000$7,960$318,400
Central Valley        
Fresno2932 31 $420,000$2,630$105,200
Glenn3232 36 $349,000$2,190$87,600
Kern3133 32 $380,000$2,380$95,200
Kings3233 39 $361,000$2,260$90,400
Madera3134 32 $423,000$2,650$106,000
Merced3132 34 $390,000$2,440$97,600
Placer2931r27 $667,000$4,180$167,200
Sacramento2629 27 $530,000$3,320$132,800
San Benito1923 17 $755,140$4,730$189,200
San Joaquin2627r25r$530,000$3,320$132,800
Stanislaus2730r28 $460,000$2,880$115,200
Tulare3337 34 $370,000$2,320$92,800
Far North        
Butte2932 28 $434,950$2,730$109,200
Lassen5253 54 $249,000$1,560$62,400
Plumas3842 32 $356,000$2,230$89,200
Shasta3539 36 $389,000$2,440$97,600
Siskiyou3941 30 $279,500$1,750$70,000
Tehama3540 33 $350,000$2,190$87,600
Other Calif. Counties        
Amador2833r32 $461,890$2,890$115,600
Calaveras2732 29 $490,000$3,070$122,800
Del Norte3032 31 $365,000$2,290$91,600
El Dorado2328 24 $699,000$4,380$175,200
Humboldt2526 24 $438,000$2,740$109,600
Lake2831 33 $357,000$2,240$89,600
Mariposa2425 22 $390,000$2,440$97,600
Mendocino1726 15 $520,000$3,260$130,400
Mono57 6 $980,000$6,140$245,600
Nevada2529 25 $557,500$3,490$139,600
Sutter3336r31 $425,000$2,660$106,400
Tuolumne3236 33 $418,300$2,620$104,800
Yolo2328 23 $625,000$3,920$156,800
Yuba2628 28r$444,950$2,790$111,600
California Association of Realtors

 r = revised

The California Association of Realtors calculates its Housing Affordability Index utilizing composite interest rates. For more on the methodology and additional details, click here.