There is a great article in the New York Times that talks about the impact of commuting costs when purchasing a home. What struck me from the article was that the impact of commuting costs was greater for moderate-income households. The article states:
“The impact is larger for moderate-income households,” said Jeffrey Lubell, the executive director of the Center for Housing Policy in Washington, “because everyone needs to get where they need to go and the fixed costs are the same for everyone. The lower you go down the income stream, the more transportation costs loom as a very big expense.”
In a region like the Bay Area, where gas prices are historically high, and tolls from bridges , the cost of commuting should definitely be one of the factors you consider in your search.
Curious about the transportation costs for a particular area? Here is a calculator where you can enter an address and find out what a typical household in that area spends on transportation.