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Housing Resources & Information

How do you qualify for affordable housing in San Mateo County?

Affordable or below market rate refers to housing that is priced to be affordable to those making less than 120 percent of the area median income (or AMI). The table below, updated annually, provides income limits for affordable housing.

California State Income Limits by Household Size (2020)

Effective 4/27/20 - Area median income $174,000 (based on a household of 4)

Income Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Extremely Low (30% AMI)* 36,540 41,760 46,980 52,200 56,400 60,570  64,740 68,910
Very Low (50% AMI)* 60,900 69,600 78,300 87,000 94,000 100,950 107,900 114,850
Low (80% AMI)* 97,440 111,360 125,280 139,200 150,400 161,520 172,640 183,760
Median (100% AMI) 121,800 139,200 156,600 174,000 188,000 201,900 215,800 229,700
Moderate (120% AMI) 146,160 167,040 187,920 208,800 225,600 242,280 258,960 275,640
 * 2020 State Income limits provided by State of California Department of Housing and Community Development


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. The Council established a number of strategic objectives addressing 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.

What Is Affordable Housing and Why Is It Necessary?

“Affordable” means a household is spending 30 percent or less of its income before taxes on housing expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, property taxes and Homeowner’s Association dues. As you can see in the chart above, if your family of four makes $208,800 annually or less, you would qualify for a moderate income below market rate (BMR) unit.

High housing costs are driven, in large part, by the booming economy and relatively few housing units being constructed regionally. In recent years, the Bay Area has added an estimated one home for every eight jobs created in the region.

In addition, while the economy is currently creating jobs, more than half of the jobs being added are middle and low wage. While this job creation is positive, these salaries, in most cases, are not high enough to cover Bay Area rents, let alone purchase a home.


Additional Resources for Locating Affordable Housing

Homes For All logo

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