San Mateo County is known for the impeccable quality of life it affords residents. As a result, San Mateo County boasts one of California's most desirable real estate markets and a cost of living that is among the highest in the United States. Families, professionals, and investors compete to get a piece of the county's prime real estate.
If you are planning to relocate to this area, it is essential that you have a good understanding of everything that contributes to the local cost of living. This blog discusses what living in San Mateo will cost you regarding housing, taxes, and general living expenses. We'll also cover some of the most expensive cities within San Mateo County.
Overall cost of living in San Mateo County
The cost of living in San Mateo County is high, as it is double the national average in terms of housing, food, health care, and other miscellaneous expenses. At the same time, housing accounts for around 30% of the cost of living.
San Mateo County residents need to make $6,391 every month
to maintain a standard of living that is considered modest. That includes around $4,228 for housing, $1,872 for food, $1,095 for health care, and $692 for miscellaneous expenses. On average, each adult in the county will spend around $73,526 annually on housing, food, child care, health care, taxes, housing, and other expenses.
Housing costs in San Mateo County
The median home value in San Mateo County is $1,007,200
, compared to the national median home value of $204,900. On top of that, just under 45% of occupied homes in San Mateo are rented, which is higher than the national rental rate of just under 35%. Older homes in the county are likely to have a higher value, with homes built before 1939 valued around 10% higher than those built after 2014.
Housing costs are a significant expense for San Mateo residents. The average renter in San Mateo pays approximately double the national average. Though rents vary by community within the county, the average renter can expect to pay between $4,000 and $5,000 per month. At the same time, many homeowners still spend more of their incomes on housing costs than renters, with a homeownership cost that is 235% of the national average. Beyond housing costs, average monthly expenses such as utilities and other household expenses can contribute significantly to the overall cost of housing.
Taxes in San Mateo County
San Mateo County is a cost-of-living hotspot, with taxes playing a significant role in the cost of living. California already has some of the highest income tax rates in the nation, and taxes in San Mateo are no exception. The average adult in San Mateo, California pays $16,661 annually in taxes, including state and federal income taxes, Social Security contributions, and Medicare payroll taxes.
Given the higher value of homes in the county, anyone considering moving to a San Mateo community will also want to account for property taxes. The county's median property tax rate is 0.70%, which is also among the highest in the nation. Besides income and property taxes, residents of San Mateo will need to keep in mind other standard taxes when planning budgets.
Residents must also expend significant sums each year to maintain their high-value homes. In 2016, the average adult working in San Mateo paid $47,828 annually in expenses compared to $37,636 for adults living elsewhere.
A closer look at San Mateo communities
San Mateo County has a population of over 700,000 residents
and an economy driven by professional, scientific, management, and administrative services (20.4%), as well as educational, health, and social services (19.9%).
Nearby urban centers include San Francisco, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Portola Valley. These cities have been home to some of the world's most influential technology companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Twitter, and Cisco Systems.
The county is also known for its beautiful natural environment and recreational activities, and is considered part of Northern California's Wine Country, which features vineyards throughout the region.
Cost of living in Redwood City
Redwood City is a coastal city with a population of 81,643 residents, and is the 100th largest community in California
. It has one of the highest median home values in the county, at $1,489,140, and just under 47% of Redwood City homes are owner-occupied. In comparison, the monthly average market rent in Redwood City is $4,999, making it one of the county's most expensive places to rent.
The median value of Redwood City homes has increased substantially over time, rising 167% since 2000. Over 70% of Redwood City homes are priced above $1 million, indicating a high demand for housing in this desirable city. Redwood City also has more new homes than other San Mateo communities. Over 11% of homes were built after 2000 and another third are under 50 years old.
Cost of living in Belmont
Situated in the San Francisco Bay area, Belmont has a population of 27,225
, making it the 265th largest community in California. The median home value in Belmont is $1,697,004, and 85% of homes are valued above $1 million. Over 56% of Belmont homes are owner-occupied, and the average monthly market rent is $4,684.
Factors such as these make Belmont one of the most exclusive communities in the state in terms of cost of living. However, the overall increase in home values for Belmont has been significantly lower than other San Mateo communities. Since 2000, Belmont home values have only increased by around 97% on average. Almost 58% of Belmont homes were built between 1940 and 1969, with only 5% constructed since 2000.
Cost of living in Burlingame
As the 250th largest community in California
, Burlingame has a population of 30,106. The median home value in Burlingame is one of the highest in the area, coming in at $2,676,474. However, the average monthly market rent of $4,291 is one of the county's lowest. Just over half of all homes in Burlingame are owner-occupied, and this greater availability of rentals may contribute to the lower monthly costs of renting.
Home values in Burlingame have increased significantly since 2000, with home values rising 205% on average. At the same time, just under 6% of homes in the city were built after 2000, whereas over 30% predate WWII.
Finding the right agent to guide your San Mateo home search
Whether you are looking at Redwood City homes or considering a move to Belmont, the best real estate agent for your home search is one who truly understands the individual communities of San Mateo County. An experienced agent such as Mary Ann Teixeira
can cut through all the complicated factors in finding and purchasing your next home. She can give you the perspective that the numbers alone do not show and help you find a home you will be happy with for years to come.