Report: Poor Getting Priced Out

PUBLISHED FEB 10, 2020 12:00 A.M.
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Deep data reporting into skyrocketing housing costs yielded interactive maps and some surprising conclusions.

Deep data reporting into skyrocketing housing costs yielded interactive maps and some surprising conclusions.

In Part 2 of an ambitious special report, the Mercury News and East Bay Times visit Mayfair, a San Jose neighborhood that is among the most painfully impacted by housing prices in the Bay Area.

The special report is titled “The Price We Pay.” Part II is headlined “House Poor: How price hikes hurt the most vulnerable.”

The news organization dug deep into census reports and other data, and discovered that the biggest price hikes in the Bay Area occurred in the poorest neighborhoods: "Poor neighborhoods saw the biggest increases, and richer neighborhoods saw the smallest. As median rents soared in the highest poverty neighborhoods, so did the hurdles for potential buyers. During the dramatic run-up in housing costs that began in 2012, median mortgage payments in the poorest one-fifth of Bay Area neighborhoods increased, on average, nearly 80 percent."

The analysis showed that the most pain is being felt in Oakland. In Santa Clara County, the Mayfair neighborhood in East San Jose has also seen major disruptions. 

“If Fruitvale in East Oakland is the tipping point of the housing crisis, Mayfair is the working poor’s last stand,” the article reports. “The median family income here is $56,299, but you would need to make $106,500 to afford the market-rate rent of $2,662.”

The article, written by Julia Prodis Sulek with data reporter Kaitlyn Bartley, also looked at how Google’s planned San Jose campus “has many working-poor families fearing that an onslaught of highly-paid employees looking for housing will finally push them out.

“In this ZIP code, single-family homes are rarely for single families anymore. Extended family members share homes with a rotating cast of renters, often converting living rooms, garages and even laundry rooms into sleeping spaces.”

The report—which is presented with impressive use of visual storytelling tools, including interactive maps and graphs, lots of photos and video—also credits Bay Area News Group reporter Katy Murphy, photographers Dai Sugano and Randy Vazquez, and editor Rebecca Salner.

Follow this link to read “House Poor: How price hikes hurt the most vulnerable."

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