Humboldt County home value growth outpacing income growth, report says

Humboldt County home values have well outpaced local income growth during the past 35 years, according to a recent report by a New York-based home insurance analytics company vHome Insurance.

The report found that the median home value in the county grew by more than twice the rate of the average household income between 1980 and 2015. Kevin Pryor, a vHome Insurance analyst, said this data implies the county is experiencing “market distortions.”

“This implies that average person is spending more of their income on housing in comparison to the past 35 years,” Weaver said.

Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the report states that the Humboldt County median home value increased by 390 percent between 1980 and 2015, which is about 35 percent higher than the state’s median house value growth and 112 percent higher than the national growth rate.

By comparison, the study states that the average household income in Humboldt County grew by about 186 percent in that 35-year period, which it states is about 52 percent lower than the state growth rate and 34 lower than the national growth rate.

North Coast Market Labor Consultant Randy Weaver of the California Employment Development Department said that there is not a strong link between a slower rate of income growth and the increase in housing values.

Weaver said this is because California has a high demand for housing matched with a lack of available housing.

“If you look at the value, the median value of a house nationally and the median value in California, it’s four or five times the national average,” Weaver said. “There is a huge demand and we have a huge population and in most areas of the state we haven’t added housing for a long time.”

However, Weaver said higher real estate values and lower incomes mean that Humboldt County residents are paying a higher amount of their income on housing. Weaver said this has a “ripple effect” in the local economy because residents will have less to spend in other markets.

“If you look at census data about the portion of monthly income that goes into housing, we tend to be on the high end,” Weaver said.

The vHome Insurance report can be found online at

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.