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The salary you must earn to buy a home in 25 cities


HSH.com took the National Association of Realtors’ 2013 fourth-quarter data for median home prices as well as our 2013 fourth-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to determine how much money homebuyers in 25 major cities would need to earn in order to purchase the median-priced home in their market.

We determined the after-tax income required to cover only the mortgage's principal and interest payment. We used standard 28 percent "front-end" debt ratios, and a 20 percent down payment subtracted from the median home price data to arrive at our figures.

There is no doubt that your income will need to be much higher, possibly even double or triple this level, to cover the needed taxes, insurances and other expenses to live in the home, plus the down payment and any other debts you might have. Since those are highly variable, down to even the individual property level and personal choice, there is no adequate way to factor for them.

That's where you come in. We've given you the basic, bottom-line income you need to cover the mortgage; to this, add the annual cost of taxes and insurance to arrive at a realistic cost to obtain a home in your chosen city. Depending upon where you are, these can add up to as much as the mortgage payment itself, or more!

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