Thursday’s Briefing: East Bay Median Home Price Soars to $825K; Buyers Now Need to Make $181K a Year to Buy a Home

Plus, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris backs Medicare-for-all plan.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 31, 2017:

1. Home prices continued to soar in the Bay Area in July, with the median sales price in Alameda County reaching $825,000, a 11.2 percent increase over the previous year, reports Richard Scheinin of the Mercury News$, citing a new report from CoreLogic real estate information service. Housing experts blamed the continued price hikes on the extreme shortage of housing on the market. Home prices have increased 64 consecutive months, with the median in the Bay Area reaching $804,000 in July. It was $585,00 in Contra Costa County.

2. Homebuyers in the San Francisco metro area, which includes Alameda County, now need to make $181,000 a year, on average, to afford a home in the region, reports Riley McDermid of the San Francisco Business Times$, citing a new report from mortgage tracker HSH. And the amount homebuyers need to make is $216,000 a year if they pay 20 percent as a down payment.

3. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced her support for Medicare-for-all legislation during an Oakland event on Wednesday, reports Casey Tolan of the Mercury News$. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is essentially a single-payer plan that would provide health coverage to all Americans. Harris, the first senator to back Sanders’ bill, said she will co-sponsor it, because it’s “the right thing to do.”

4. BART will close a portion of its line through Oakland over the weekend to rebuild track between the Lake Merritt and Fruitvale stations, reports Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The shutdown means BART riders traveling to the Coliseum or Oakland airport will have to take shuttles between the stations.

5. Cities throughout the Bay Area are expected to break heat records today, especially in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties, where temperatures could top 110 degrees, reports Mark Gomez of the Mercury News$.

6. Volatile chemicals exploded at a Texas chemical plant after flooding from Hurricane Harvey rendered the facility inoperable, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Arkema chemical plant in Crosby is expected to have numerous explosions because of the unsafe conditions at the evacuated facility.

7. Wells Fargo admitted that its fraudulent credit card account problem is much worse than thought, revealing that its employees set up 3.5 million bogus accounts—about 70 percent more than previously reported, The New York Times$ reports.

8. And special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump-Russia collusion in last year’s presidential campaign, has teamed up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Politico reports. The move undercuts President Trump’s ability to short-circuit Mueller’s probe by pardoning people, because the president has no power to grant pardons for state crimes.

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