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Make $31K? Housing is reasonable for now
Manteca leaders address affordable housing
Manteca leaders are considering strategies to make sure affordable housing is still available for Manteca residents once housing prices start picking up again. - photo by HIME ROMERO
In a twist of irony some people working full-time and who are making less than $31,000 a year can afford to buy a home in Manteca for less than they can afford to rent it.

The state-mandated housing element update being reviewed by the City Council Tuesday contains a required average income chart by various occupations along with the corresponding affordable rent or affordable housing that specific salaries can support given a reasonable debt load.

A preschool teacher making $30,795 can afford to pay $770 a month in rent. That barely gets them into the average two bedroom, one bathroom apartment but is $120 more than the average one bedroom and one bathroom apartment. They can also afford to buy a home costing $114,141 or less. There are 42 homes in that price range available in Manteca-Lathrop on the Multiple Listing Service. Housing in that price range rent for $800 to $900. Compare that to a FHA loan with 3.5 percent down, it costs the same or less to buy the same house.
It is why so many people with cash are taking money out of banks where they get less than a 3 percent return and buying homes where they can put their money to work by pulling in more than a 10 percent return on their investments.

It isn’t easy to buy. It takes solid credit and – in most cases – either 3.5 percent down from a person’s own sources or help through a city or federal program.

Even so, it represents a rare period in Manteca where housing is affordable – whether it is renting or buying – for over two-thirds of the workforce that is employed full-time.

Manteca’s Community Development Department started the mandatory exercise with the understanding that the current housing market is a fluke and that in the long range inflationary pressures are likely to return to push up rents and housing prices.

The strategy is to develop more affordable housing for the low and very low income segments as well as moderate incomes. Current municipal programs are aimed at helping providing such households with assistance with down payments to take advantage of the current low prices.

Farm workers and laborers in Manteca make an average income of $18,073 which means they can afford a $452 a month rent or a $66,987 home. They can barely afford a lower end one bedroom apartment. Cashiers, on the other hand, that make the Manteca average income for their employment category of $20,898 can afford a $522 rent or a $77,458 house.

The market is even better for those with moderate incomes.

Teachers working for Manteca Unified, for example, who are at the entry level making $44,000 a year can afford a $1,100 a month in rent or a $163,085 home. Two years ago such a teacher could not afford to buy a home. Most entry level teachers, though, have student loan debt on top of car loans meaning they can afford less. Even with that, today’s market makes it possible for them to rent decent apartments or buy a home.

A typical Manteca Unified custodian earning $31,000 a year can afford $775 in rent or to buy a $114,091 home.

It has never been better for a household with two full-time workers making the minimum wage which comes to $33,280 a year. They can afford $832 in rent or to buy a $123,352 home. A single minimum wage earner still is facing an extremely rough time in Manteca. Assuming they work full-time, that brings them $16,640 or enough to pay $416 in rent or a $61,676 home.

Registered nurses making an average of $76,798 can afford $1,920 in rent or buy a $284,650 home. A firefighter making $54,852 can afford $1,371 a month in rent or a $203,308 home. The average Manteca police officer earning $64,638 a year can afford a monthly rent of $1,616 or a $239,579 home.

A two-wage household consisting of a preschool teacher and a security guard earn $52,805 a year can afford rent of $1,320 or a $195,721 home.

The City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.