We at the Lost Coast Outpost love and esteem our crosstown colleagues at the Eureka Times-Standard. Let the ad salespeople at our respective publications rip out each others’ throats on the field of battle. Let the money men Spy v. Spy their way to victory over cocktails at the Ingomar. All that is as it should be, and sometimes it is a really amazing spectacle!
But never suppose that any of that could fracture the rock-solid fraternity that we content creators enjoy. I will say it again: We love and esteem our crosstown colleagues at the Times-Standard. More than one of us were among their ranks, once upon a time! Before we GTFO’d outta there, I mean.
All that said, we feel we must point out in the gentlest possible fashion that a story that just went up on the T-S website – a story headlined “Only 30% of households can afford homes in Humboldt County” – is incorrect.
Why is it incorrect? Well, in the story, reporter Sonia Waraich, who does lots of great work, takes a look at the quarterly affordability data gathered by the California Association of Realtors, which is a useful thing to do. There she finds that the association’s “Housing Affordability Index” for Humboldt County has dropped to 30 – down from 39 one year ago.
What is the housing affordability index? The California Association of Realtors explains:
C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Index (HAI) measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California. C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state.
So what does that mean? It means, according to the association’s estimates, that 30 percent of Humboldt County families could afford the median-priced home for sale in Humboldt County – down from 39 percent of families a year ago.
But what does the T-S say it means? It says:
At the start of 2021, about 39% of households could afford a single-family home in the county, but that dropped to 30% at the start of this year, according to data released earlier this month by the California Association of Realtors.
Do you notice the missing word, there? That word is “median.” It should say: “At the start of 2021, about 39% of households could afford the median-priced single-family home in the county, but that dropped to 30 percent at the start of this year…”
Saying that only 30 percent of households can afford to buy a home is a lot different than saying that only 30 percent of households can afford to buy the median-priced home. Because why? Because there are many homes for sale that are cheaper than the median-priced home. Exactly half of them, in fact!
Thank you for allowing me this gentle correction, for which I deeply apologize, and #savelocalnews.