Twenty-nine percent.

The number looks like this: 29%.

That's more than one out of four, and just a tad less than two out of three.

That's the share of California's neighborhoods with median home values of $1 million or more, according to Trulia, which analyzed 15,100 "larger neighborhoods" around the nation, and identified 838 of them as having seven-figure median home values. Three out of four homes in San Francisco, and seven out of 10 homes in San Diego are $1 million-plus.

Imagine, that means only a quarter of homes in San Francisco, and 30% in San Diego can be bought for less than $1,000,000.

It comes as no surprise, then, that National Association of Home Builders assistant VP for survey research Rose Quint should report, based on the latest NAHB Housing Opportunity Index, the following fact about San Francisco:

Just 6.4 percent of the homes sold in the third quarter of 2018 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $116,400.

[That's why, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, we urge you to register today for our Hive conference on Nov. 28-29, in Austin, Tx.]

Affordability, according to the NAHB, is at a decade low, as median home prices--including new and resales--are running at an all-time high of $268,000. What's more, the hit on monthly payments due to average mortgage rate increases to 4.72% has effectively taken the "opportunity" out of the Housing Opportunity Index in more and more places.

House price appreciation's double-edged sword has, on the one hand, made on-paper millionaires of 3.6% of all homeowners nationwide--a 100% increase in six years--and, further, has made more than a quarter of property-owners with mortgages "equity rich," which means that their home valuation is at least twice the amount of the money they owe.

On the other hand, remember where median household incomes are? $63,007.

Remember where economic and social mobility measures are? "This is still a country in which nearly 20 percent of prime-age American men are not working full time. This is still a country in which only 37 percent of adults expect children to be better off financially than they are."

"Million-dollar creep" and "equity-rich" mean nothing to more and more and more Americans. For them "working class" means working for less and less, not working toward a better life.

On top of that, market-rate players--investors, lenders, developers, designers, manufacturers, and builders, have been denied opportunity, just like more and more of our society's population to play a role in increasing housing opportunity.

Average builders and average developers could sell homes or rent them to people who want and need them, but they can't afford to develop and build them, what with land-use regulatory burdens, labor expense, lending costs, material price inflation, etc. adding layer upon layer of time, money, and political machination to the process.

In housing recoveries past, market-rate players--investors, builders, and developers--served an important role. They tended to be able to bend-the-curve and break the barriers that separated people with everyday household wages and their dreams of homeownership. They were able to expand opportunity, deepen the demand pool and include more working Americans in the marketplace.

Will that, can that, ever happen again?

We think it can, although prospects right now don't look promising. That's why we're bringing the best, the brightest, the boldest, the most restless, the most venturous people we can put in the same place at the same time to Hive, in Austin, in just two-and-a-half weeks.

  • Hive looks head-on at the challenge builders and communities face to build affordably and profitably.
  • Hive looks at the issue this way: too many working people are priced-out of today's housing options, and too many builders and developers are priced out of participating in solutions.
  • Hive follows the money, bringing in both mainstream finance and investment sources and venture capital innovation funds into active roles in the conversation.
  • Hive includes the technology community--Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Tesla and myriad other data and technology organizations--as essential players in any sustainable solutions for housing's hardest challenges.
  • Hive breaks down the--often arbitrary--silos that separate single-family from multifamily and market-rate from affordable developers so that housing's most brilliant, most effective, and most powerful players can share what works, throw out what doesn't, and plan together the kinds of new community development localities need right now and tomorrow.
  • Hive focuses on and celebrates housing's most impactful innovators--our Hive 50 Awardees. They're the ones who take ideas, premises, and fresh new calculations, commit to them, and invest in them, and, ultimately, convert them into action. We call this innovation. In housing, it's happening across five pillar areas--strategy, capital investment, consumer intelligence, building technology, and design. They reflect a growing, thriving community of inventors, investors, instigators, and innovators.
  • Hive's mission, its purpose, and its strategy for action is to Reignite the Dream. Innovation--not just ideas but action--is the only way to close the gap between what housing's market players and produce profitably and what working households can attain within their means.

And this year, Hive will give its attendees a blueprint for action, sending each of its stakeholders back to their offices and job sites and organizations with tangible take-aways--not just blaming the cause of their challenges, but naming some steps toward solutions.

We want you there, because you are an essential part of making this happen. Register now.