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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:

  • Only three metro areas were more affordable during the second quarter: Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
  • Mortgage rates fell in every metro on our list.
  • Several metros saw substantial price gains during the second quarter when compared with the first quarter. Notable increases include: Cleveland at 24 percent, Chicago at 18 percent, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at 17 percent. 
  • After a 15 percent increase in the second quarter, the median price of a single-family home in the San Francisco metro is $885,600.

PLEASE SEE: Metro area definitions

 

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’ 2016 second-quarter data for median-home prices and HSH.com’s 2016 second-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. Read more about the methodology and inputs on the final slide of this slideshow.

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. Here’s a hint, things get more expensive when you cut the down payment in half.

The second quarter saw some rather astonishing home price increases, especially given the fact that during the first quarter, home prices rose by more than 1 percent in only six metro areas. It’s too soon to tell if the second-quarter increases are the beginning of a new trend or simply an anomaly.

“Steadily improving local job markets and mortgage rates teetering close to all-time lows brought buyers out in force in many large and middle-tier cities,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a release. “However, with homebuilding activity still failing to keep up with demand and not enough current homeowners putting their home up for sale, prices continued their strong ascent – and in many markets at a rate well above income growth.”

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: 3.62 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.13 percent

Home price: $140,500

  • Quarterly change: +17.13 percent
  • YOY change: +3.61 percent

Monthly payment: $755.77

Salary: $32,390.09

  • Quarterly change: +$2,909.13

Pittsburgh is once again the most-affordable metro area on our list. If homebuyers in the Pittsburgh metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $32,390 to $37,122.

Mortgage rate: 3.72 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.14 percent

Home price: $138,100

  • Quarterly change: +24.08 percent
  • YOY change: +6.48 percent

Monthly payment: $803.46

Salary: $34,433.95

  • Quarterly change: +$3,935.82

Thanks to the largest quarterly-price increase on our list, affordability is way down in the Cleveland metro compared to the previous quarter. If homebuyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $39,118.

Mortgage rate: 3.79 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.09 percent

Home price: $160,600

  • Quarterly change: +16.55 percent
  • YOY change: +5.73 percent

Monthly payment: $867.51

Salary: $37,179.18

  • Quarterly change: +$3,395.41

The Cincinnati metro had one of the largest home price increases during the second quarter at nearly 17 percent. If homebuyers in the Cincinnati area put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases by $5,474 to $42,654.

Mortgage rate: 3.70 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent

Home price: $170,300

  • Quarterly change: +15.22 percent
  • YOY change: +4.10 percent

Monthly payment: $889.73

Salary: $38,131.22

  • Quarterly change: +$3,089.80

A 15 percent price increase in the second quarter caused the required salary in the St. Louis metro to increase by over $3,000. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases by $5,768 to $43,899.

Mortgage rate: 3.78 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.19 percent

Home price: $164,200

  • Quarterly change: +15.61 percent
  • YOY change: +7.43 percent

Monthly payment: $899.31

Salary: $38,541.83

  • Quarterly change: +$3,003.94

Steady home price gains continue to help Detroit-area homeowners recover some of the equity they lost during the downturn. While that's very important to the health of the metro's real estate market overall, it does crimp affordability for new buyers. If homebuyers in the Detroit metro put down 10 percent instead of 20 percent, the required salary would increase another $5,593 to $44,135.

Mortgage rate: 3.71 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.17 percent

Home price: $192,000

  • Quarterly change: +14.42 percent
  • YOY change: +5.79 percent

Monthly payment: $935.48

Salary: $40,092.12  

  • Quarterly change: +$3,267.15

Homebuyers in the Atlanta metro saw a substantial increase in home prices during the second quarter, especially considering that prices had fallen by 1 percent in the first quarter. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $46,600.

Mortgage rate: 3.71 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.18 percent

Home price: $234,700

  • Quarterly change: +5.20 percent
  • YOY change: +7.71 percent

Monthly payment: $1,043.37

Salary: $44,715.99

  • Quarterly change: +$1,049.08

If homebuyers cannot afford to make a 20 percent down payment ($46,940), a 10 percent down payment will cost half that, but the required salary increases to $52,671.

Mortgage rate: 3.86 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.15 percent

Home price: $199,900

  • Quarterly change: -0.35 percent 
  • YOY change: +14.23 percent

Monthly payment: $1,047.08

Salary: $44,874.70

  • Quarterly change: -$704.99

Thanks to lower mortgage rates and lower home prices during the second quarter, Tampa is just one of three metros to see the required salary figure fall in the second quarter. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $51,723.

Mortgage rate: 3.71 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent

Home price: $210,500

  • Quarterly change: +7.67 percent
  • YOY change: +5.57 percent

Monthly payment: $1,137.57

Salary: $48,752.98  

  • Quarterly change: +$1,759.96

Given that the salary increase in the first quarter was only $18 in the San Antonio metro, the second-quarter increase of $1,760 may seem rather significant. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figure increases by another $7,135 to $55,888.

Mortgage rate: 3.76 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.18 percent

Home price: $223,000

  • Quarterly change: +0.90 percent 
  • YOY change: +12.63 percent

Monthly payment: $1,152.25

Salary: $49,382.26

  • Quarterly change: -$460.94

Orlando is the second metro on the list so far to see a lower required salary in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, as the decline in mortgage rates more than offset the small increase in home prices. If buyers decide to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $56,968.

Mortgage rate: 3.68 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.18 percent

Home price: $242,400

  • Quarterly change: +9.44 percent
  • YOY change: +6.32 percent

Monthly payment: $1,208.52

Salary: $51,793.80

  • Quarterly change: +$2,513.49

Lower mortgage rates were not enough to curtail the impact of higher home prices during the second quarter in the Minneapolis metro, as the required salary rose by over $2,500 on a quarter-to-quarter basis. If buyers in the Twin Cities metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $59,992.

Mortgage rate: 3.75 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.15 percent

Home price: $217,400

  • Quarterly change: +4.52 percent 
  • YOY change: -1.67 percent

Monthly payment: $1,219.74

Salary: $52,274.68

  • Quarterly change: +$882.63

The Houston metro moved down one spot on our list, swapping places with the Philadelphia metro. Home prices in the Houston area did not increase nearly as much as many other metros on our list, allowing the required salary to increase by only $883 in the second quarter. If buyers in the Houston metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $59,664.

Mortgage rate: 3.73 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent

Home price: $232,200

  • Quarterly change: +13.88 percent 
  • YOY change: +0.22 percent

Monthly payment: $1,246.51

Salary: $53,421.87

  • Quarterly change: +$3,845.39

The Philadelphia metro swapped places with the Houston metro during the second quarter as a surge in median home prices trimmed affordability to a greater degree. If buyers in the Philly metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary is $61,303.

Mortgage rate: 3.76 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.14 percent

Home price: $232,200

  • Quarterly change: +10.52 percent
  • YOY change: +7.90 percent

Monthly payment: $1,277.84

Salary: $54,764.49

  • Quarterly change: +$2,938.20

The Dallas metro swapped places with the Baltimore metro for the second quarter. A price increase of 10.52 percent boosted the required salary by nearly $3,000. If Dallas-area buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $62,663.

Mortgage rate: 3.73 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.14 percent

Home price: $265,800

  • Quarterly change: +15.97 percent
  • YOY change: +4.44 percent

Monthly payment: $1,326.20

Salary: $56,837.35

  • Quarterly change: +$5,170.93

A price increase of nearly 16 percent caused the required salary in the Baltimore metro to rise by $5,171. If Baltimore-area buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figure comes in at $65,859.

Mortgage rate: 3.72 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.17 percent

Home price: $246,400

  • Quarterly change: +18.12 percent 
  • YOY change: +6.90 percent

Monthly payment: $1,457.30

Salary: $62,455.94

  • Quarterly change: +$5,287.58

The Chicago metro had the second-highest price gain of any metro on our list. Thanks to that increase, the required salary rose by $5,288 in the second quarter. If buyers in the Windy City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figure increases to $70,813.

Mortgage rate: 3.76 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.17 percent

Home price: $310,000

  • Quarterly change: -0.86 percent
  • YOY change: +6.93 percent

Monthly payment: $1,519.48

Salary: $65,120.41

  • Quarterly change: -$1,469.76

The Miami metro swapped places with the Sacramento metro this time around as Miami was only one of three metros on our list to see a salary decline in the second quarter due to a combination of both lower prices and lower mortgage rates. If buyers in the Miami metro put down 10 percent instead of 20 percent, the required salary figure increases to $75,665.

Mortgage rate: 3.79 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.15 percent

Home price: $323,700

  • Quarterly change: +8.77 percent
  • YOY change: +11.24 percent

Monthly payment: $1,525.13

Salary: $65,362.63

  • Quarterly change: +$3,289.67

The Sacramento metro swapped places with the Miami metro during the second quarter as the home-price growth in the River City metro was substantially stronger during the quarter. Higher prices led to a salary increase of nearly $3,300 in the second quarter. If buyers in the Sacramento metro want to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary figure increases to $76,397.

Mortgage rate: 3.83 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.13 percent

Home price: $356,700

  • Quarterly change: +9.18 percent 
  • YOY change: +13.31 percent

Monthly payment: $1,647.65

Salary: $70,613.37

  • Quarterly change: +$3,976.32

Lower mortgage rates in the second quarter were not enough to increase affordability in the Portland, Oregon metro area. Significantly higher home prices caused the required salary figure to rise to $70,613. If you were to put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary would be $82,807.

Mortgage rate: 3.75 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.19 percent

Home price: $394,400

  • Quarterly change: +6.88 percent
  • YOY change: +8.68 percent

Monthly payment: $1,699.77

Salary: $72,847.39

  • Quarterly change: +$2,660.76

Home prices in the Denver metro continue to improve. Unfortunately for homebuyers, lower mortgage rates could not prevent affordability from slipping. The required salary in the Mile High metro increases to $86,253 if buyers make a 10 percent down payment instead of a 20 percent down payment.

Mortgage rate: 3.70 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.18 percent

Home price: $406,900

  • Quarterly change: +10.45 percent
  • YOY change: +1.45 percent

Monthly payment: $1,911.94

Salary: $81,940.22

  • Quarterly change: +$4,782.32

It’s the second quarter in a row that the Washington D.C. metro appears before Seattle on our list. However, the required salary for the D.C. metro area is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you put 10 percent down: $95,722.

Mortgage rate: 3.90 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.12 percent

Home price: $420,500

  • Quarterly change: +9.76 percent
  • YOY change: +9.14 percent

Monthly payment: $1,928.98

Salary: $82,670.73

  • Quarterly change: +$5,141.72

In the second quarter, the Seattle metro had one of the highest salary increases on our list at $5,142. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary in the Seattle metro increases to $97,118.

Mortgage rate: 3.70 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.17 percent

Home price: $395,400

  • Quarterly change: +6.03 percent
  • YOY change: -0.73 percent

Monthly payment: $2,011.69

Salary: $86,215.44

  • Quarterly change: +$2,314.67

While still more expensive in the second quarter than the first, the New York metro moved up in affordability one notch as Boston surged past it in the second quarter. A required-salary increase of just over $2,300 is certainly not the worst we’ve ever seen this time around, but that's little consolation to people looking for affordable housing options. Worse, perhaps is that the required salary figure in the New York metro increases to $99,607 for buyers who put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent.

Mortgage rate: 3.67 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.14 percent

Home price: $435,800

  • Quarterly change: +15.14 percent
  • YOY change: +5.11 percent

Monthly payment: $2,042.99

Salary: $87,556.61

  • Quarterly change: +$7,979.03

Speaking of the Boston metro, a 15-percent increase in home prices during the second quarter caused the required salary figure to rise by nearly $8,000. For buyers who put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $102,285.

Mortgage rate: 3.74 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent

Home price: $480,000

  • Quarterly change: +4.48 percent
  • YOY change: +7.82 percent

Monthly payment: $2,148.81

Salary: $92,091.89

  • Quarterly change: +$1,830.46

We've come to the spot on our list where the priciest California metros take over. Despite a relatively muted quarterly home price increase when compared to many other metros there is still an $1,830 bump in salary needed to keep up. As well, the required salary in the LA metro increases to $110,710 when a buyer decides to put only 10 percent down.

Mortgage rate: 3.84 percent (jumbo rate)

  • Quarterly change: -0.07 percent

Home price: $589,900

  • Quarterly change: +6.42 percent
  • YOY change: +7.69 percent

Monthly payment: $2,553.62

Salary: $109,440.97

  • Quarterly change: +$4,954.24

San Diego is one of two metros on our list where, even with a 20 percent down payment, buying a median-priced home requires a jumbo mortgage. Rates for jumbos fell less than for conforming loans over the period and provided little offset for fast-rising home prices. If buyers in the San Diego metro put down 10 percent instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $132,466, and the mortgage amount needed moves buyers even deeper into jumbo territory.

Mortgage rate: 3.77 percent (jumbo rate)

  • Quarterly change: -0.04 percent

Home price: $885,600

  • Quarterly change: +14.83 percent
  • YOY change: +9.52 percent

Monthly payment: $3,778.78

Salary: $161,947.60

  • Quarterly change: +$17,607.57

The king of inaffordability continues to reign. With a near-15-percent increase in home prices in the second quarter, affordability grows even further out of reach for borrowers in the San Francisco metro. If buyers put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $196,363.

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 2016 second-quarter data for median home prices and our 2016 second-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?

salary you need to earn in order to afford home in 27 metro areas
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Metro Area

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate % Change from 1Q16 Median Home Price % Change from 1Q16 Monthly Payment (PITI) Salary Needed
National 3.73% -0.14% $240,700 10.82 $1,229.65 $52,699.17
Pittsburgh 3.62% -0.13% $140,500 17.13 $755.77 $32,390.09
Cleveland 3.72% -0.14% $138,100 24.08 $803.46 $34,433.95
Cincinnati 3.79% -0.09% $160,600 16.55 $867.51 $37,179.18
St Louis 3.70% -0.16% $170,300 15.22 $889.73 $38,131.22
Detroit 3.78% -0.19% $164,200 15.61 $899.31 $38,541.83
Atlanta 3.71% -0.17% $192,000 14.42 $935.48 $40,092.12
Phoenix 3.71% -0.18% $234,700 5.20 $1,043.37 $44,715.99
Tampa 3.86% -0.15% $199,900 (0.35) $1,047.08 $44,874.70
San Antonio 3.71% -0.16% $210,500 7.67 $1,137.57 $48,752.98
Orlando 3.76% -0.18% $223,000 0.90 $1,152.25 $49,382.26
Minneapolis 3.68% -0.18% $242,400 9.44 $1,208.52 $51,793.80
Houston 3.75% -0.15% $217,400 4.52 $1,219.74 $52,274.68
Philadelphia 3.73% -0.16% $232,200 13.88 $1,246.51 $53,421.87
Dallas 3.76% -0.14% $232,200 10.52 $1,277.84 $54,764.49
Baltimore 3.73% -0.14% $265,800 15.97 $1,326.20 $56,837.35
Chicago 3.72% -0.17% $246,400 18.12 $1,457.30 $62,455.94
Miami 3.76% -0.17% $310,000 (0.86) $1,519.48 $65,120.41
Sacramento 3.79% -0.15% $323,700 8.77 $1,525.13 $65,362.63
Portland 3.83% -0.13% $356,700 9.18 $1,647.65 $70,613.37
Denver 3.75% -0.19% $394,400 6.88 $1,699.77 $72,847.39
Washington 3.70% -0.18% $406,900 10.45 $1,911.94 $81,940.22
Seattle 3.90% -0.12% $420,500 9.76 $1,928.98 $82,670.73
New York City 3.70% -0.17% $395,400 6.03 $2,011.69 $86,215.44
Boston 3.67% -0.14% $435,800 15.14 $2,042.99 $87,556.61
Los Angeles 3.74% -0.16% $480,000 4.48 $2,148.81 $92,091.89
San Diego 3.84% -0.07% $589,900 6.42 $2,553.62 $109,440.97
San Francisco 3.77% -0.04% $885,600 14.83 $3,778.78 $161,947.60

Comments

  1. Jordan K September 21, 2016 3:06 pm

    I think the bigger issue is the assumption that the family has no student debt and has the money required to make a down payment. Even if we assume no student debt, a family making 160k in the Bay Area will, amidst ever rising rents and cost of living, have a very difficult time saving the 180k needed to put down to buy that 885k house. This needs to be more prominently addressed in order for this article to be helpful to most people.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 7:49 am

      Jordan, Thanks for your comment. You're right in the sense that yes, debts are missing as part of our equation. We have no way of knowing how much debt one person has versus another. And we mention in the introduction that this is the BASE cost of owning a home, you will need to earn more to cover the total cost of owning a home. We can only work with the data that is available. Also, we provide numbers for a 10% down payment in the commentary of each slide. Given the salary break between 20% and 10%, you can assume a needed salary if you need to go down to 5%. Thanks for your comment, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  2. Naomi September 20, 2016 11:34 am

    This article would be much better if you included/compared houses that you could buy at the "median" price in each city - otherwise these numbers are meaningless. A one BR walk up condo in NYC does not compare to 4BR home .. even if they are both median prices. As difficult as it may be, why don't you do the same analysis using a comparable home ..

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 7:56 am

      Naomi, Thanks for your comment. You're right, a 1-BR condo is NYC is not the same as a 4-BR home in Ohio. But the locations are extremely different and money buys many different things depending on where you live. We have to use the median price data from the NAR -- there is no other data. And, we compare entire metro areas, not just cities, so what you can buy in NYC vs. what you can buy on Long Island will vary greatly. Thanks for your comment, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  3. Richard September 20, 2016 7:32 am

    Using the values in your table, I see that you divided monthly annual PITI (monthly PITI * 12) by 0.28 to arrive at the value for Salary Needed. Stated differently, you assume that the maximum percentage of income that should be used for PITI is 28 percent. It is wrong to assume that this value should be fixed across income. To show this, note that the household earning $32,390 in Pittsburgh has $23,320 remaining for other expenses, while the household earning $161,947 in San Francisco has $116,602 remaining for other expenses in addition to more favorable income tax deductions. Clearly, the household in San Francisco can afford to spend a somewhat higher percentage of their income on housing, and this implies that Salaries Needed at the high end of this table are somewhat inflated.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 7:59 am

      Richard, Thanks for your comment. The 28% ratio we use are industry standards, the same thing any lender would calculate. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  4. Liisa Lippincott September 19, 2016 10:49 am

    What about Honolulu, Hawaii?

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 8:01 am

      Liisa, Up until now, we have not had metro-area mortgage rate data in Honolulu. We are considering using a national number so we can add more metros to our list. Thanks, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  5. FN September 17, 2016 3:12 pm

    Next time, how about including at least one metropolitan area from EACH OF THE 50 states? You covered 4 areas just in CA here while leaving out more than half of the states in the union.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 8:05 am

      FN, The reason is because, up until now, we have been using HSH's metro area mortgage rates which did not have data for all 50 states. We also compiled a list of metros based on population. We are considering using a national number so we can include more metros. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  6. Jeff September 16, 2016 9:17 pm

    I bought a house in Hillcrest (San Diego) with an income of just under $50k. Of course this was 2003 and much easier to obtain loans back then. Sold it 3 years later same condition at a $240k profit. Took that money invested and doubled over the next 3 years and used that money to repurchase the same house in cash as it had been forclosed and the price was same as i had paid in 2003. Life is good!

      Reply»  
  7. Richard September 16, 2016 12:53 pm

    These numbers seem to assume a ratio of home price to annual salary of about 4.5 - that seems rather high to me. I think most households would be really pushing their budget at that ratio. A more widely accepted ratio is 2.5-3.5. Thus, at a ratio of 3.5, the home price of 240,700 (nationwide median) would require a salary of $68,771. The home price of $885,600 in San Francisco would require a salary of $253,028.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 22, 2016 8:10 am

      Richard, We used industry standard front and back-end ratios. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

        Reply »  
  8. B September 13, 2016 9:30 am

    Oh look! The South has been excluded again. Yes I see the Florida cities and and Atlanta. I guess that's what corporate America considers the South.

      Reply»  
    1. Rick Dykema September 21, 2016 7:16 am

      So you don't consider Texas to be in the South, B?

        Reply »  
    2. Editorial Team September 13, 2016 12:25 pm

      B: This list is based on the 27 largest metro areas, not favoritism to one region of the country over another. Thanks for your comment. Tim Manni, HSH.com.

        Reply »  
  9. Kirsten September 12, 2016 8:34 pm

    I wish you could make $160k a year and afford a house in the Bay Area. Ha!!!

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team September 13, 2016 12:27 pm

      Kirsten, This salary number is based of the median-price home (half the homes sold for more, half sold for less) as provided by the National Association of Realtors for the entire metro area, defined here: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html Thanks for commenting,Tim Manni, HSH.com.

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  10. AJ Johnston September 12, 2016 6:31 pm

    We live in Indy. It's $72 per sqaure foot in the city and around $89 per square foot in the suburbs... so my 2600ft colonial with 4 beds, 2 1/2 baths on a quarter acre overlooking a pond costs me $973 every month. Taxes are capped at 1% and my HOA is $200 a year.

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