People without a college degree will literally never afford a home in San Francisco

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If you live or plan to live in the San Francisco area, and you have dreams of buying your own home there, save yourself the headache. According to a study released this week from Trulia, a real estate listings and housing data website, it would take the average college graduate over 29 years to save enough money to make a 20% down payment on a home there.


And if you are without a college degree, it's even worse. Trulia doesn't even bother listing how long it would take a non-college grad to buy a home in their calculations. They simply say: "Not Possible."

Here's a list of the most cost-prohibitive cities for college grads to buy housing, according to the study. Almost all are in California:


And here's the worst cities for non-college grads (no, this doesn't apply to billionaire Silicon Valley dropouts like Peter Thiel, this is based on averages. It does say something about how misguided his plan to pay college students to drop out of college is, though). A few variations from the above chart here. Ahem, New York City:

Note: I put the San Francisco number at "100 years," only so it would appear on the chart.

Trulia explains how it came up with the city's "Not Possible" designation by saying that "the monthly increase for the required down payment outpaces the increase in the total monthly household savings during a typical lifespan." In other words, you'd be dead before you can afford that dream home.


The discrepancy between specific cities' numbers in the first and second charts happens because home prices are rising, and continuing to rise in those metro areas. So by the time a non-college grad's savings catch up with the market, the down payment will be significantly higher than what a college grad would be paying for the same piece of real estate.

It's not all bad, though. There are some metro areas where college grads can save up for a 20% down payment pretty easily. Hellooooo, Ohio and Detroit:


Believe it or not, there are four metro areas where you're at least a year better off without a college degree. Trulia says that this happens for two reasons. "First, the boost in income that you get for having a college degree in these metros is small," it explains.

"Second, households with college degrees typically have student loan payments, which hinder their ability to save for a down payment," it concludes.


Here's that short list:


A note on the methodology of this study. Trulia says that it estimated the average income, income growth, and monthly savings for each month into the future for "for households headed by 25-30 year olds with and without a college degree for each of the largest 100 metropolitan areas" to arrive at these numbers.

It then estimate the median prices, price growth, and the estimated down payment for those real estate markets, projecting a future month where the statistical average for each of those metro areas would be able to buy a home.


Read more of the study and its methodology here.

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.

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