The short answer is: a lot. And: probably more than you have if you live in the Bay Area.
To cover principal and interest alone on a median-priced home in the greater Bay Area $682,410, you would need $115,510 in annual income. The monthly payment would be $2,695.23. To also cover taxes and insurance, you would need more, but the study did not factor those in because they vary widely by city.
The report assumes a 20% down payment, which means you also need a cool $136,000 in cash saved up. Median household income in the Bay Area was $73,562 in 2011, so that means in order to by a median-priced home, you need to be making nearly 60% above the median income (and don’t forget the $136,000 in cash!).
In my neighborhood, $682,410 would probably get you a nice 1,200 square foot two-bedroom house. Maybe an extra half bath if you’re lucky.
I have been reading and thinking a lot about the resurgence in debate over gentrification and spiraling rents, especially in San Francisco but really across the country. These trends are inequality etched in space, come home to roost in neighborhoods. As a researcher and as a Bay Area renter, I keep fixating on the question: who can afford these prices? Isn’t there some limit to the number of people who can pay? What do these people do for a living? And what happens when people pay nearly $700,000 to move next to a family that struggles to pay the mortgage on a house they paid $200,000 for?