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The salary you must earn to buy a home in 27 metros

See below exactly how much salary you would need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home in 27 metro areas.

Key takeaways:

  • Mortgage rates fell in every one of our metros during the fourth quarter
  • Quarterly home prices fell in every metro but five, while home prices were up year-over-year in every metro but three
  • The Orlando metro area had the largest year-over-year price gain at 13.89 percent (Denver came in at a close second at 12.29 percent)
  • When putting 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figures for our metro areas increased anywhere from $4,200 to $31,000
 

Chicago

How much salary do you need to earn in order to afford the principal and interest payments on a median-priced home in your metro area?

To find out, HSH.com took the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 fourth-quarter data for median-home prices and HSH.com’s 2015 fourth-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to determine how much of your salary it would take to afford the base cost of owning a home -- the principal, interest, taxes and insurance -- in 27 metro areas.

We used standard 28 percent "front-end" debt ratios and a 20 percent down payment subtracted from the NAR’s median-home-price data to arrive at our figures. We've incorporated available information on property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs to more accurately reflect the income needed in a given market.

In the commentary section of each slide, we discuss how the required salary would change if you were to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent. Read more about the methodology and inputs on the final slide of this slideshow.

While falling home prices and lower mortgage rates improved affordability in every metro but two, the National Association of Realtors does not expect this trend to continue in 2016. A lack of available inventory to satisfy buyer demand will continue to pressure home prices higher.

"Without a significant ramp-up in new home construction and more homeowners listing their homes for sale, buyers are likely to see little relief in the form of slowing price growth in the months ahead," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. 

Here’s a current look at how much salary you would need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home in your metro area.

Mortgage rate: 3.90 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.06 percent

Home price: $128,000

  • Quarterly change: -8.57 percent
  • YOY change: +4.32 percent

Monthly payment: $726.47

Salary: $31,134.50

  • Quarterly change: -$2,105.89

In 2015, the real estate market in the Pittsburgh metro was red hot as it was a banner year for sales and price growth. During the fourth quarter, the Steel City metro had the lowest mortgage rates on our list and a significant downward shift in prices, helping to fuel the demand of first-time buyers. Since chances are many first-time homebuyers can’t afford to put 20 percent down, the required salary with 10 percent down is $35,532 – an increase of nearly $4,400.

Mortgage rate: 4.00 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.08 percent

Home price: $121,800

  • Quarterly change: -7.73 percent
  • YOY change: +0.50 percent

Monthly payment: $758.88

Salary:  $32,523.47

  • Quarterly change: -$1,878.84

Subdued price growth has kept home prices in the Cleveland metro very affordable. While the lack of higher prices does prevent homeowners from building equity, local real estate professionals said the low prices have attracted more millennials to purchase in the city. While a 10 percent down payment in the Cleveland metro does cut your upfront costs in half ($24,360 to $12,180), it increases the salary you need to earn by over $4,200.

Mortgage rate: 4.02 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.09 percent

Home price: $136,600

  • Quarterly change: -9.12 percent
  • YOY change: -1.09 percent

Monthly payment: $792.56

Salary: $33,967.01

  • Quarterly change: -$2,516.37

Cincinnati is one of only three metros on our list to see both monthly and yearly price declines. A lack of price growth is a contributing factor that is keeping homeowners from selling. The Cincinnati region, like much of the country, is suffering from a lack of available inventory which is delaying the purchase process for many. For those who did buy, the required salary was $38,701 if they choose to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent.

Mortgage rate: 4.00 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.05 percent

Home price: $143,700

  • Quarterly change: -10.19 percent
  • YOY change: +3.83 percent

Monthly payment: $811.48

Salary: $34,777.53

  • Quarterly change: -$2,826.45

While the St. Louis metro area had the largest quarterly price decline on our list, home price have trended upward on a year-over-year basis. Realtor.com predicted that St. Louis will be one of the hottest housing markets in 2016, with sales forecast to rise by 9 percent. Chances are many buyers in the St. Louis metro will not put 20 percent down. With a 10 percent down payment, the required salary increased to $39,750 in the fourth quarter.

Mortgage rate: 4.07 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.05 percent

Home price: $148,667

  • Quarterly change: -4.89 percent
  • YOY change: +5.69 percent

Monthly payment: $861.34

Salary: $36,914.56

  • Quarterly change: -$1,418.20

In comparison to the same period last year, home prices in the Detroit metro area have continued on an upward trajectory. While still struggling to overcome the damage sustained during the Great Recession (WalletHub just named Detroit “the worst place to be a real estate agent”), affordability remains strong and continues to present opportunities for homebuyers in the Motor City metro area. To help foster home sales, the city developed the “Detroit Home Mortgage” which is aimed to combat low appraisal values. If you can’t afford a 20 percent down payment, the required salary increases to $42,085 when putting 10 percent down.

Mortgage rate: 4.03 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.07 percent

Home price: $169,200

  • Quarterly change: -5.42 percent
  • YOY change: +7.29 percent

Monthly payment: $876.19

Salary: $37,551.08

  • Quarterly change: -$1,842.04

Despite a down fourth quarter, home prices have trended higher in the Atlanta metro area when compared to the same time last year. Analysts predict home prices will continue to rise in the Atlanta area throughout 2016. If higher prices mean you can’t afford a 20 percent down payment ($33,840), try putting just 10 percent down ($16,920). The added costs of mortgage insurance and the higher loan amount do raise the required salary figure by $5,867.

Mortgage rate: 4.16 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.03 percent

Home price: $175,100

  • Quarterly change: +0.06 percent
  • YOY change: +9.44 percent

Monthly payment: $978.19

Salary: $41,922.58

  • Quarterly change: -$88.21

Even though the Tampa metro had the highest mortgage rates on our list during the fourth quarter, they did tick lower compared to the previous quarter. With very little change to home prices, albeit a positive change, affordability remained quite stable. However, the shift in affordability does become a bit more dramatic if you choose to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent: the required salary increases by $6,129.

Mortgage rate: 4.03 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.06 percent

Home price: $221,000

  • Quarterly change: +1.01 percent 
  • YOY change: +10.33 percent

Monthly payment: $1,025.21

Salary: $43,937.76

  • Quarterly change: +$100.95

The Phoenix metro is only one of two metro areas on our list to see a salary increase in the fourth quarter. Quarterly price growth prompted the required salary to increase by just $101. But the required salary figure would increase by $7,664 if you were to put 10 percent down as opposed to 20 percent.

Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.08 percent

Home price: $192,100

  • Quarterly change: -3.61 percent
  • YOY change: +3.56 percent

Monthly payment: $1,096.08

Salary: $46,974.78

  • Quarterly change: -$1,496.09

The combination of lower mortgage rates and prices in the fourth quarter led to improved affordability conditions in the San Antonio metro. Local Realtors expect demand to remain strong amid limited inventory. The strong demand is expected to keep sales growing and allow prices to move higher. If you’re buying a home in the San Antonio metro with 10 percent down, the required salary figure increased to $53,627 in the fourth quarter.

Mortgage rate: 4.08 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.03 percent

Home price: $205,000

  • Quarterly change: +1.89 percent 
  • YOY change: +13.89 percent

Monthly payment: $1,115.59

Salary: $47,810.81

  • Quarterly change: +$508.01

An Orlando real estate brokerage said that the area is experiencing the biggest gains in real estate appreciation since 2007. The numbers during the fourth quarter seem to bear that out. The Orlando metro had the highest home price increase on our list during the fourth quarter and the highest salary increase. That quarterly increase grows by an additional $7,134 if you make a 10 percent down payment instead of 20 percent.

Mortgage rate: 4.00 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.07 percent

Home price: $223,700

  • Quarterly change: -2.19 percent
  • YOY change: +6.52 percent

Monthly payment: $1,172.52

Salary: $50,250.68

  • Quarterly change: -$1,135.55

According to local Realtors, more homes were sold in the Twin Cities metro last year than in the past 10 years. But despite all the increased activity, lower rates and prices have allowed affordability to remain intact. If a 10 percent down payment is more manageable ($22,370 instead of $44,740), the salary it takes to buy a home in the Minneapolis metro increases to $57,991.

Mortgage rate: 4.00 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.06 percent

Home price: $213,700

  • Quarterly change: -8.95 percent 
  • YOY change: +0.19 percent

Monthly payment: $1,204.52

Salary: $51,622.40

  • Quarterly change: -$3,716.26

Strong quarterly price declines in the Philadelphia metro area moved it much lower on our list, becoming more affordable in the fourth quarter than both Dallas and Houston. Even yearly price growth is starting to taper off in the area. But if you can’t afford to put down 20 percent ($42,740), a 10 percent down payment cuts that figure in half but increases the required salary by nearly $7,400.

Mortgage rate: 4.05 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.04 percent

Home price: $206,200

  • Quarterly change: -1.81 percent 
  • YOY change: +8.76 percent

Monthly payment: $1,208.81

Salary: $51,806.01

  • Quarterly change: -$792.52

According to the Texas Association of Realtors, the Dallas metro area had the most home sales of any Texas metro during the fourth quarter. Realtors are confident that strong demand and rising prices will carry over into 2016. While home prices have trended upward on a yearly basis, lower prices and rates in the fourth quarter dropped the required salary figure by nearly $800. But if you want to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increased by $7,161.

Mortgage rate: 4.04 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.05 percent

Home price: $209,200

  • Quarterly change: -3.68 percent
  • YOY change: +4.97 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,217.16

Salary: $52,163.93

  • Quarterly change: -$1,531.34

Affordability improved in the Houston metro during the fourth quarter. While home prices and mortgage rates trended lower during the last three months of 2015, local Realtors expect home prices to remain steady in 2016 which should keep affordability conditions stable. If you were to make a 10 percent down payment on a median-priced home in the Houston metro, the required salary would be $59,424.

Mortgage rate: 3.98 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.03 percent

Home price: $233,500

  • Quarterly change: -7.45 percent
  • YOY change: +0.13 percent

Monthly payment: $1,233.51

Salary: $52,864.57

  • Quarterly change: -$3,219.42

Home prices in the Baltimore metro area trended down sharply in the fourth quarter and remained mostly unchanged when compared to the same period one year ago. While these lower prices are not welcomed by homeowners, they are an enhancement for homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, looking to purchase an affordable home. With 10 percent down, the required salary increases to $60,933.

Mortgage rate: 4.04 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.04 percent

Home price: $209,800

  • Quarterly change: -8.50 percent 
  • YOY change: +7.53 percent

Monthly payment: $1,352.93

Salary: $57,982.85

  • Quarterly change: -$3,389.27

The steep home-price increases that the Chicago metro saw during the second and third quarters reversed course in the last three months of 2015. Lower mortgage rates and home prices helped the required salary fall by nearly $3,400 in the fourth quarter. But if you decide to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figured increases to $65,263.

Mortgage rate: 4.05 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.08 percent

Home price: $294,100

  • Quarterly change: +0.93 percent
  • YOY change: +9.45 percent

Monthly payment: $1,450.01

Salary: $62,143.45

  • Quarterly change: -$18.76

The Sacramento metro is only one of five metro areas to see both quarterly and yearly price growth. Due to moderate price growth and the decline in mortgage rates during the fourth quarter, the Sacramento area saw the smallest salary decline at just $19. At 20 percent down, buyers need to earn a salary of $62,143. At 10 percent down, that salary figure increases to $72,357.

Mortgage rate: 4.07 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.07 percent

Home price: $286,000

  • Quarterly change: -1.38 percent
  • YOY change: +7.92 percent

Monthly payment: $1,471.12

Salary: $63,048.07

  • Quarterly change: -$1,064.16

Home prices haven’t changed all that much in the Miami metro in the last two quarters which has helped to keep affordability stable. Affordability is especially important in this metro area as stagnant incomes and expensive new construction makes homeownership more difficult for residents. If you cannot afford a 20 percent down payment, you will need to earn $72,994 to afford a median-priced home in the Miami metro area.

Mortgage rate: 4.05 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.08 percent

Home price: $318,800

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent 
  • YOY change: +10.35 percent

Monthly payment: $1,538.07

Salary: $65,917.47

  • Quarterly change: -$590.07

Home prices in Portland metro area remained fairly level which helped the required salary to fall by $590 during the fourth quarter – much less than the majority of the other metros on our list. To afford a 20 percent down payment for a median-priced home, you would need to save $63,760. You could save just half that and make a 10 percent down payment, but then your required salary would increase to $76,989.

Mortgage rate: 4.05 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.08 percent

Home price: $353,500

  • Quarterly change: +0.14 percent
  • YOY change: +12.29 percent

Monthly payment: $1,596.85

Salary: $68,436.22

  • Quarterly change: -$478.98

Denver is one of only five metro areas on our list to see both quarterly and yearly price increases, albeit less than 1 percent in the fourth quarter. The minimal price growth along with lower mortgage rates prompted the salary figure to fall under $500 from the previous quarter. But the required salary of $68,436 will increase to $80,712 if the down payment shrinks from 20 percent to 10 percent.

Mortgage rate: 4.09 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.09 percent

Home price: $385,300

  • Quarterly change: -0.26 percent
  • YOY change: +9.46 percent

Monthly payment: $1,829.91

Salary: $78,424.93

  • Quarterly change: -$858.44

Limited change in quarterly prices kept affordability rather stable in the Seattle metro. With local Realtors anticipating higher prices in 2016, lower mortgage rates and home prices presented a great opportunities for buyers at the end of 2015. Saving for a 20 percent down payment isn’t easy – it will run you over $77,000. Splitting that down payment in half will provide upfront relief, but it will require you to earn an extra $13,418.

Mortgage rate: 4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.06 percent

Home price: $371,600

  • Quarterly change: -4.37 percent
  • YOY change: -0.32 percent

Monthly payment: $1,834.60

Salary: $78,625.71

  • Quarterly change: -$3,248.03

Washington, D.C. is only one of three metro areas on our list to see both quarterly and year-over-year price declines. With two straight quarters of salary reductions, affordability is moving in the right direction for homebuyers. If the required salary of $78,626 seems low for the D.C. area, the required salary increases to $91,494 when putting 10 percent down.

Mortgage rate: 3.96 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.07 percent

Home price: $393,600

  • Quarterly change: -6.46 percent
  • YOY change: +2.71 percent

Monthly payment: $1,940.20

Salary: $83,151.43

  • Quarterly change: -$5,012.81

Of the last five remaining metro areas on our list, Boston saw the largest increase in affordability as the required salary figure fell by over $5,000 during the fourth quarter. But Realtor.com is advising Boston-area buyers not to delay. Prices are expected to rise 6 percent in 2016. With a down payment of 10 percent, the required salary during the fourth quarter was $96,733.

Mortgage rate: 4.00 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.06 percent

Home price: $384,600

  • Quarterly change: -6.10 percent
  • YOY change: -0.39 percent

Monthly payment: $2,024.64

Salary: $86,770.19

  • Quarterly change: -$4,578.81

New York is yet another metro area to see both quarterly and yearly price declines. But we don’t think you’ll hear any local buyers complain. Considering a 20 percent down payment for a median-priced home in the New York metro area will run you nearly $77,000, 10 percent down is more realistic. However, the smaller down payment increases the required salary to $100,079.

Mortgage rate: 4.02 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.04 percent

Home price: $481,900

  • Quarterly change: -4.91 percent
  • YOY change: +6.88 percent

Monthly payment: $2,217.60

Salary: $95,040.20

  • Quarterly change: -$4,487.31

Homebuyers in the LA metro area were relieved to see affordability improve in the fourth quarter after this metro had the highest quarterly salary increase last time around. However, it still takes a salary of over $95,000 to afford a median-priced home. If you chose to make a 10 percent down payment, the required salary increases to $113,313.

Mortgage rate: 3.90 percent (jumbo rate)

  • Quarterly change: -0.21 percent

Home price: $546,800

  • Quarterly change: -1.37 percent
  • YOY change: +10.89 percent

Monthly payment: $2,407.18

Salary: $103,164.96

  • Quarterly change: -$3,530.99

Despite having a jumbo rate, San Diego has the lowest mortgage rate on our list (tied with Pittsburgh) and had the largest quarterly-rate decline of any metro on our list. The combination of lower rates and prices led to increased affordability in the fourth quarter in an area that is getting increasingly expensive – year-over-year price gains surpassed 10 percent. Borrowers will be required to earn a yearly salary of $124,588 if they put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent.

Mortgage rate: 3.94 percent (jumbo rate)

  • Quarterly change: -0.04 percent

Home price: $781,600

  • Quarterly change: -1.78 percent
  • YOY change: +9.21 percent

Monthly payment: $3,453.24

Salary: $147,996.19

  • Quarterly change: -$2,935.14

With both rents and home prices pushing many out of the market in the San Francisco metro area, some relief was felt during the fourth quarter as the required salary edged down by nearly $3,000. But required-salary figures grow much higher when a borrower decides to put down 10 percent instead of 20 percent. At 10 percent down, the required salary increases by another $31,699 to $178,695.

To compile these results, HSH.com calculated the annual before-tax income required to cover the mortgage's principal, interest, tax and insurance 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. Loans with less than a 20 percent down payment will incur mortgage insurance, which would in turn increase the required salary and require Private Mortgage Insurance.

We utilized the NAR's 2015 fourth-quarter data for median home prices and our 2015 fourth-quarter average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to determine how much money homebuyers in 27 major metro areas would need to earn in order to purchase the median-priced home in their market.

The average mortgage rate information we used was for purchase-money mortgages made to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

We created metropolitan-area average property tax information using data made available from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). We use 2011-2013 ACS 3-year estimates, which are the latest available data.

We used the latest available data for statewide average homeowner insurance premium costs from the Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org), whose mission is to improve public understanding of insurance.

Note: Property taxes and insurance costs are specific to an individual property itself and will be different for any single property in which you may have an interest. Also, if other personal debts exceed 8 percent of one's given monthly gross income, this will increase the salary needed to qualify.

PMI costs used in our calculations are for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. For conforming loan amounts, these are costs for FICO scores of greater than 720 but less than 759; for jumbo loan amounts, these costs are for FICO scores of 760 or greater. You can calculate mortgage insurance costs for other credit scores, down payment amounts and mortgage types using HSH.com's PMI Cost Calculator.

Data for the Pittsburgh metro area was provided by RealSTATs, a locally owned and operated real estate information company. Home-price data for Detroit was provided by Realcomp II Ltd., Michigan's largest Multiple Listing Service.

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How much salary do you need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home in your metro area?

Cleveland Pittsburgh St. Louis Cincinnati Detroit Atlanta Tampa Phoenix Orlando San Antonio Minneapolis Dallas Houston Philadelphia Chicago Baltimore Sacramento Miami Denver Portland Seattle Washington Boston Los Angeles New York City San Diego San Francisco

Cities 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate % Change from 3Q15 Median Home Price % Change from 4Q14 Monthly Payment (PITI) Salary Needed
National 4.02% -0.06% $222,700 +6.86 $1,192.67 $51,114.62
Pittsburgh 3.90% -0.06% $128,000 +4.32 $726.47 $31,134.50
Cleveland 4.00% -0.08% $121,800 +0.50 $758.88 $32,523.47
Cincinnati 4.02% -0.09% $136,600 -1.09 $792.56 $33,967.01
St Louis 4.00% -0.05% $143,700 +3.83 $811.48 $34,777.53
Detroit 4.07% -0.05% $148,667 +5.69 $861.34 $36,914.56
Atlanta 4.03% -0.07% $169,200 +7.29 $876.19 $37,551.08
Tampa 4.16% -0.03% $175,100 +9.44 $978.19 $41,922.58
Phoenix 4.03% -0.06% $221,000 +10.33 $1,025.21 $43,937.76
San Antonio 4.01% -0.08% $192,100 +3.56 $1,096.08 $46,974.78
Orlando 4.08% -0.03% $205,000 +13.89 $1,115.59 $47,810.81
Minneapolis 4.00% -0.07% $223,700 +6.52 $1,172.52 $50,250.68
Philadelphia 4.00% -0.06% $213,700 +0.19 $1,204.52 $51,622.40
Dallas 4.05% -0.04% $206,200 +8.76 $1,208.81 $51,806.01
Houston 4.04% -0.05% $209,200 +4.97 $1,217.16 $52,163.93
Baltimore 3.98% -0.03% $233,500 +0.13 $1,233.51 $52,864.57
Chicago 4.04% -0.04% $209,800 +7.53 $1,352.93 $57,982.85
Sacramento 4.05% -0.08% $294,100 +9.45 $1,450.01 $62,143.45
Miami 4.07% -0.07% $286,000 +7.92 $1,471.12 $63,048.07
Portland 4.05% -0.08% $318,800 +10.35 $1,538.07 $65,917.47
Denver 4.05% -0.08% $353,500 +12.29 $1,596.85 $68,436.22
Seattle 4.09% -0.09% $385,300 +9.46 $1,829.91 $78,424.93
Washington 4.01% -0.06% $371,600 -0.32 $1,834.60 $78,625.71
Boston 3.96% -0.07% $393,600 +2.71 $1,940.20 $83,151.43
New York City 4.00% -0.06% $384,600 -0.39 $2,024.64 $86,770.19
Los Angeles 4.02% -0.04% $481,900 +6.88 $2,217.60 $95,040.20
San Diego 3.90% -0.21% $546,800 +10.89 $2,407.18 $103,164.96
San Francisco 3.94% -0.04% $781,600 +9.21 $3,453.24 $147,996.19

Comments

  1. Greg Hall March 26, 2016 7:51 am

    Wise observation. Realtor's want to sell your as much house as possible to maximize their profit. First house I bought was ok. I was starting my career and my salary increased quickly. Later in my career, I bought a house and went along with standard debt ratio recommendations. My salary was no longer increasing at the same rate. The monthly mortgage payment was uncomfortable. I was essentially married to my hours.

      Reply»  
  2. Beth Gilbert March 22, 2016 8:21 am

    Your stats on Washington are incorrect - unless you are including the entire DC metro area - which is not specified in your data source. The median price for a home - this includes condos - in DC is $537,000. And, fyi, to qualify for $1,800. per month in rent, the income requirement is $74,000. (gross). Please let me know if you need more info, or perhsps, a real estate journalist! Regards, Beth 202-422-4314.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team March 28, 2016 9:23 am

      Beth, Our home price data comes from the NAR and is 100% correct. We reiterate as many times as possible that this data pertains to metro areas (including in the title). Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
      1. james hearo April 09, 2016 3:07 am

        The NAR publishes false numbers. They is no way you can get approval for a mortage much less pay the mortgage payment based on the after tax earnings of these salaries. Another misleadeing marketing article.

        1. Editorial Team April 12, 2016 9:15 am

          James, The NAR publishes the numbers based on the properties sold in a given area. Please also we aware that these are salaries to cover the base cost of owning a home: principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You'll need to earn more to pay bills and for spending money. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

  3. Kim March 16, 2016 12:07 pm

    I'm self employed. Trying to get an Apx number of what I would need to show on my tax returns for two years in Denver Colorado to qualify for a home between $350- 400,000.?

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team March 16, 2016 1:49 pm

      Kim, Since your numbers jive with what we're showing above, you can use the salary we provide as a benchmark to get started. However, you will need to discuss this with a mortgage lender or broker to determine what exactly you qualify for based on your salary. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  4. Jeff Grenz March 07, 2016 9:53 am

    Was getting pretty excited until I saw that 20% down payment was your baseline. That no longer reflects the US housing market which has fallen to 14-15% average down payment. That seems like a good number except most of my buyers are either 100% cash or 0-3% down VA/FHA, so maybe a median down payment % in the average price range for owner occupied would be a more reasonable measure.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team March 07, 2016 10:04 am

      Jeff, That's why we included info on 10% down in every slide. The intro slide says, "In the commentary section of each slide, we discuss how the required salary would change if you were to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent." Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  5. Jim Klecha March 07, 2016 7:31 am

    Very interesting study. I live in the Charleston South Carolina area and by all indications is a very 'hot' real estate market for it's size. Any way you could give me the data for this market?

      Reply»  
  6. Mike March 05, 2016 7:04 pm

    I feel like that is a low amount for Dallas. if you have 0 debt other than a car payment you would be spending about 2600 per month. I make 59k in dallas and take home 3600 per month after taxes and 401k. I am sure you will also be paying water and garbage in a house. so after you pay all your bills you have 800-1000 left over with a 59k salary. That 800- 1000 has to cover your random fun money plus any savings you can do. how do you save up for when something goes wrong with your appliances or other unexpected expenses. You would be so house poor you can't even afford to furnish it or have any fun at all. And that is for 1 person. If you have more than one person your food expenses will go up. I am sure you other expenses would go up as well. I think in dallas you need to make at least 75k to comfortably afford a 200k house and not have to go thousands in debt if something comes up. And that is after you save up for a 20% down payment.

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    1. Editorial Team March 07, 2016 7:28 am

      Mike, Thanks for your comment. You're right, you will need to earn more money to help pay for things like furnishings and any other bills you might have. As we noted, this is the salary needed for the base cost of owning a home: principal, interest, taxes and insurance. And this is the Dallas metro, not just the city. Thanks, Tim Manni, HSH.com

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  7. The Doc March 05, 2016 4:21 am

    My colleague lives in Honolulu. Why are they excluded from your list of metropolitan areas?

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    1. Editorial Team March 07, 2016 7:29 am

      Doc, Thanks for commenting. This list of metros is based on population: 27 largest metro areas. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

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  8. Doc R March 05, 2016 4:16 am

    There are some flaws with the methodology. The largest cities have fewer single family homes. I would like to see a breakdown of multi unit versus single family homes and see where the averages would be. How would the breakdown be for 15 year mortgages? I put 20% down on my 15 year mortgage. The average person doesn't have 20% to put down on a home. That assumption is a stretch. This analysis is even less realistic. Most people that I know, have 10% down, at best. Lastly, taxes in some locales are much higher than the average, such as NYC. Are those factors calculated in your methodology?

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    1. Editorial Team March 07, 2016 7:35 am

      Doc, Thanks for your comment. These calculations are very straightforward. This is not just based on cities, but rather metro areas. A 15-year loan would increase the required salary for sure as the monthly payment would be higher. You're correct, the average person doesn't have 20% to put down, that is why we also provide the required salary based on 10% down in every slide.Yes, property taxes are included. For more on the methodology, please refer to the first and last slides of the slideshow: http://www.hsh.com/finance/mortgage/salary-home-buying-25-cities.html#how-did-we-come-up-with-these-salaries -Tim Manni, HSH.com

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  9. Daisy Swearingen March 04, 2016 8:31 am

    Household income of 51,000? Or is family size not factored in?

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    1. Editorial Team March 04, 2016 1:32 pm

      Daisy, Thanks for commenting. It's the total salary you need, whether single or family total. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  10. Pat Hupp March 04, 2016 5:38 am

    Virginia is a great place to live! Such a beautiful state, and I was not born here everyone! I wandered here from the mid west, looking for a better job. Yes, we may be more expensive than others, as the closer you live to DC the more pricey it becomes! Jobs are plentiful, great schools, free museums, steeped in history, and on and on. Not only should be looking at the prices, but the opportunities for growth and income in your life! We have first time home buyer programs that help you purchase with no monies down! You want to own, there is a way! Retirement does bring challenges with limited incomes, but planning, and maybe relocating might have to happen! Not only money is the issue, it is closeness to great medical care, maybe university to take classes, bus transportation, can you live in place in your home if you are not as mobile, what senior help does the area you choose have, where is your family in time of need? Bottom line, don't leap! Analyze, and realize life changes, so your plan in life must too! I love your charts and information!

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team March 04, 2016 1:33 pm

      Thanks Pat!!

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