Merced County ranked as one of most unaffordable counties in United States

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The price of homes all around the Valley has soared in the past few years.

But Merced County was ranked as the 15th "most unaffordable county" in the US by the personal finance tech company MoneyGeek.

"What we did in our analysis is we looked through and we found the counties in America that had a high ratio of mortgage and housing expenses compared to their incomes," says MoneyGeek Head of Data and Analytics Doug Milnes.

Milnes says their data locked in on areas of high population growth and high price appreciation.

He noticed housing prices rose in Merced County by 45% in the past three years.

"I looked at last month's sales data in Merced County and it indicated the median home sale price in March was $415,000," Milnes said.

Milnes says you need a household income of $95,000 to afford that home. The individual median income in Merced County is just under $31,000.

The rising number of Bay Area commuters moving to Los Banos continues to drive up home prices countywide.

City Planner Stacy Souza Elms knows residents face a very difficult challenge.

"Maybe you're a hairdresser or you're that single mom, you're going to be in that lower-income bracket and where are you going to live? You're going to get pushed out, so we need that affordable housing inventory to be able to keep our locals here in Los Banos," Elms said.

We're already seeing many people who grew up here moving to even smaller Valley towns in search of homes within their budget.
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