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10 metros where a home costs about $1,000/month

 

Cleveland

Extracted from our homebuying salary calculations that cover the 50 largest metropolitan area, here a group of ten areas around the country where you can own a home for about $1,000 -- even if you can only make a 10 percent down payment for your purchase, too. Our calculations factor the principal and interest payments for a median priced existing home in the third quarter of 2017, and we take into account taxes and insurance costs as well. Although the base calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment, each panel also shows costs with just a 10 percent down purchase, where we also include the cost for PMI in our tally.

None of these lower-cost places to live to your liking? Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Kansas City and Columbus are just above the $1,000 line, so there may be other low-cost choices if you're looking to locate or relocate to an area with lower housing costs.

Not surprisingly, these lower cost metro areas feature smaller cities, with only the St. Louis metro area cracking the top 20 in terms of population. Also, it's important to remember that as we use the median home price we use in our calculation that half of the homes sold in the market in the third quarter of 2017 sold for less than this price. This means that even in areas that didn't make our list of 10, there could still be affordable options for lower-cost homeownership.

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $146,000

  • Quarterly change: +0.69 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +4.29 percent

Monthly payment:   $821.46

Salary:  $35,205.49

  • Quarterly change: -$123.80
  • Year-over-Year change: +7.67 percent

If homebuyers in the Pittsburgh metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $35,205.49 to $40,013.28, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $933.64 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.10 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $146,000

  • Quarterly change: +0.83 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +5.11 percent

Monthly payment:   $850.79

Salary:  $36,462.63

  • Quarterly change: -$90.52
  • Year-over-Year change: +7.20 percent

If homebuyers in the Cleveland metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $36,462.63 to $41,256.14, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $962.64 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $173,700

  • Quarterly change: -1.42 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +5.85 percent

Monthly payment:   $855.63

Salary:  $36,670.05

  • Quarterly change: -$759.29
  • Year-over-Year change: +9.72 percent

If homebuyers in the Indianapolis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $36,670.05 to $42,313.90, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $987.32 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $158,800

  • Quarterly change: -0.87 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +2.58 percent

Monthly payment:   $870.49

Salary:  $37,306.76

  • Quarterly change: -$547.27
  • Year-over-Year change: +7.72 percent

If homebuyers in the Oklahoma City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $37,306.76 to $42,231.17, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $985.39 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $172,700

  • Quarterly change: +0.70 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +6.67 percent

Monthly payment:   $882.48

Salary:  $37,820.45

  • Quarterly change: -$143.60
  • Year-over-Year change: +9.57 percent

If homebuyers in the Memphis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $37,820.45 to $43,459.21, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,014.05 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $175,700

  • Quarterly change: -0.57 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +2.27 percent

Monthly payment:   $885.27

Salary:  $37,940.17

  • Quarterly change: -$514.46
  • Year-over-Year change: +6.44 percent

If homebuyers in the Louisville metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $37,940.17 to $43,704.93, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,109.78 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $169,100

  • Quarterly change: +0.30 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +7.71 percent

Monthly payment:   $926.21

Salary:  $39,694.76

  • Quarterly change: -$252.56
  • Year-over-Year change: +8.98 percent

If homebuyers in the Cincinnati metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $39,694.76 to $45,265.90, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,056.20 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $198,700

  • Quarterly change: -3.59 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +6.09 percent

Monthly payment:   $935.57

Salary:  $40,095.69

  • Quarterly change: -$1,621.64
  • Year-over-Year change: +9.67 percent

If homebuyers in the Birmingham metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $40,095.69 to $46,724.01, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,090.23 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $176,500

  • Quarterly change: +1.44 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +3.82 percent

Monthly payment:   $952.51

Salary:  $40,821.78

  • Quarterly change: $64.49
  • Year-over-Year change: +7.52 percent

If homebuyers in the St. Louis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $40,821.78 to $46,563.46, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,084.02 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

Mortgage rate:  4.01 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.10 percent

Home price:  $151,600

  • Quarterly change: +8.29 percent
  • Year-over-Year change: +8.66 percent

Monthly payment:   $971.79

Salary:  $41,648.23

  • Quarterly change: $1,623.28
  • Year-over-Year change: +8.66 percent

If homebuyers in the Buffalo metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $41,648.23 to $46,598.12, lifting the PITI  (and mortgage insurance) payment to $1,087.29 per month.

How did we arrive at these salary figures?                                       Metro area definition

To compile these results, HSH.com calculates the annual before-tax income required to cover the mortgage's principal, interest, property tax and homeowner's insurance payment. We use 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. Results using smaller down payments and including PMI costs are provided on each market's slide.

We utilized the National Association of Realtors 2017 second-quarter data for median home prices. For mortgage data, we create a quarterly average of mortgage rates from survey data published by Freddie Mac (conforming loans) and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (jumbo loans) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

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

Into our calculations, we incorporate metropolitan-area average property tax information using data made available from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). We use 2010-2015 ACS 5-year estimates, which are the latest available data.

For homeowner's insurance costs, we use 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 may 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 740 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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