San Carlos, CA

Affordable Housing and Resources

Am I eligible for Affordable Housing in San Carlos?
To determine if you are eligible for affordable housing in San Carlos, you need to confirm whether your household income falls within the income limits established for affordable housing. If your income is below the threshold, you can apply to join the waitlist for an affordable housing unit.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility or need assistance with the application process, you can contact the San Carlos Housing Department for guidance at (650) 802-4265.

California State Income Limits by Household Size (2024)
Area median income $186,600 (based on a household of 4)

Income Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Extremely Low (30% AMI)*









Very Low (50% AMI)*









Low (80% AMI)*









Median (100% AMI)*









Moderate (120% AMI)*









* 2024 State Income limits provided by State of California Department of Housing and Community Development

How to Apply for the Below Market Rate (BMR) Waitlist?
Those interested in joining our Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing waiting list can call our Community Development Department at (650) 802-4265 or click on the link below.

Apply Now for Affordable Housing

Note that preference is given to San Carlos residents/workers. Given the many factors used to determine the qualification of each household, the City is unable to determine where on the waiting list an applicant is. The top 25 eligible applicants will be contacted by mail, email, or phone when a unit becomes available. If no eligible applicant is found, the next 25 will be contacted until the unit is filled. Keep your contact information updated to avoid missing an offer.

For more information on eligibility and preferences for below market rate units please view the 18.16.080 Eligibility for below market rate units.

How long does it take to get an Affordable Housing unit?
There is no set timeline for how long it may take to get an affordable housing unit in San Carlos. The wait time can't be estimated as the demand far exceeds the supply. However, we encourage you to explore alternative resources listed at the bottom of this page to help in your search.

Additional Resource for Locating Affordable Housing
The City of San Carlos is proudly working with the Home for All San Mateo County initiative to promote more housing in San Mateo County.

General Housing Resources

Affordable Housing Developers

Housing Resources for People with Disabilities

Other Resources

Affordable Housing and Resources
What Is Affordable Housing and Why Is It Necessary?
Affordable housing is a crucial issue for many cities, including San Carlos. “Affordable" means that a household spends no more than 30% of its pre-tax income on housing expenses, including rent/mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, property taxes, and HOA dues. In San Carlos, households of four earning $210,000 or less per year are eligible for moderate-income BMR units, as indicated in the chart.

The high cost of housing in the San Carlos region is largely due to the booming economy and the relatively low number of housing units being constructed. For instance, the Bay Area has added only one home for every eight jobs created in recent years. Although job creation is positive, more than half of the new jobs are middle to low-wage, making it challenging for residents to afford Bay Area rents, let alone homeownership.

Despite planning for both economic and population growth, San Carlos is facing immense pressure in its housing market due to the current regional economic boom. The low-income households, which make up 20% of San Carlos and earn less than $50,000 annually, face significant housing affordability challenges. However, even higher-earning households in San Carlos are affected by the cost of housing, which has become a significant portion of their paychecks.

As a result, building new affordable housing often requires redevelopment, which involves converting underused properties into housing units due to the limited undeveloped space. This process typically takes place in high-density zoning areas, such as those near the Caltrain Station and along the Laurel Street and El Camino Real corridors, where access to mass transit is greatest.


Our City Council values diversity in our community and recognizes that the housing crisis is a barrier that must be overcome to ensure the community remains diverse and thriving. To address this challenge, the Council has set several strategic objectives focusing on affordable housing and diversity To begin overcoming the housing crisis, we all need to understand the forces driving the rise in housing prices, examine the San Carlos housing market, and recognize the persistent need for more affordable housing.
The City of San Carlos is proudly working with the Home for All San Mateo County initiative to promote more housing in San Mateo County.

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