Only Los Angeles and New York residents spent similar percentages on shelter, the report said.

Because of that, local residents generally spend less on expenses such as utilities, entertainment and cars, Cunningham said, adding that last item doesn’t include the higher cost of gasoline.

Paying More to Build

A common reason behind the high housing prices here and in other California markets is the restrictive land use regulations both the state and local jurisdictions have enacted, the report said.

Russ Valone, president of MarketPointe Realty who spoke at a recent Realtors conference, said building new housing costs far more in this state than it does nearly everywhere else. Regulatory costs add an average of $150,000 to $250,000 to a new house, boosting it to well above $700,000, he said.

Those costs and time associated with new development put a huge damper on the number of new units added to the available mix in recent years. From 2008 to 2012, the number of residential units authorized was the lowest number on record dating to before World War II, Cunningham said.

As of July, there were 955 residential permits issued by the county, up 88 percent from July 2012.

With constrained housing development due to increased regulations, speculative buying in the San Diego area has been rampant, artificially inflating housing prices, Cunningham said.

The area’s housing prices will likely continue rising, although Cunningham doesn’t see another bubble forming in the short term.

“If we do have one, it wouldn’t be quite the same bubble as we just had,” he said. “It will be tempered by the area’s income levels and our financial system. The banks are not going to lend to people who can’t afford to repay them.”