From Miami to Detroit to San Antonio, an annual household income of $117,400 puts you firmly in the "high income" group. You'd even land in the upper middle class in New York City, per Business Insider. Not so in San Francisco. Further cementing the city's reputation as the most expensive in the country, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has revamped income limits so that a family of four earning $117,400 a year now qualifies as "low income" in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, while a household income of $73,300 is considered "very low income," reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Not only is the low-income gauge the highest such limit in the country, but it represents a 10% increase over last year, per the San Jose Mercury News.
As the income limits determine who can qualify for affordable housing programs, the increases mean more people are eligible. "But they're unlikely to make much difference in a region already suffering from a shortage of affordable housing," the Mercury News reports, noting the median house price in some parts of the Bay Area has jumped 25% in the past year. "It just demonstrates how broken and unsustainable our housing market is," says Amie Fishman, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. "California needs 1 million more units of affordable housing for people at the very low and extremely low [income limits]—those struggling the most" and "the market will never produce homes for people at that level," she says. (Read more San Francisco stories.)