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New: Our latest update of the income you'll need to buy a home -- and see our 2019 update of State Homebuyer Assistance Programs

The salary you must earn to buy a home in the 50 largest 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 the 50 most populous metropolitan areas.

Key takeaways:
Falling mortgage rates and smaller price increases helped improve the fortunes of potential homebuyers in the first quarter of 2019. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, the income needed to buy a median-priced home declined in all 50 markets we cover.

However, don't get the sense that homes are suddenly getting significantly more affordable, which isn't the case at all. After years of outsized price gains, they are simply getting more expensive more slowly, and a combination of a decline in mortgage rates (and still-rising) incomes have helped to improve the affordability calculation, at least for the first quarter of 2019.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, the median price of a home sold during the period was lower in 29 major metropolitan areas than in the fourth quarter of 2018. Compared to the second and third quarters of a year, when activity is at it highest, demand for homes is usually slower in the 4th quarter of each year and in the 1st quarter of the next, and so prices tend to soften up a little bit relative to the rest of the year. This is largely due to seasonal effects of holidays and winter weather.

There continue to be some rumblings in the news that in some markets, cooling sales are leading to lower asking prices, or at least more sellers accepting bids below asking price. Three very different metro areas showed year-over-year decreases in median home prices, including Hartford, CT (which has been struggling), San Jose, CA (which is the most expensive market in the country and had been booming) and the Virginia Beach metro area, which seems to have leveled off (it featured just a 0.46% year-to-year decline in median price).

While by no means occurring in every market across the country, there is certainly growing evidence that the rate of annual price increases is in a softening trend in many areas. On a national basis, the current year-over-year increase in the median price of an existing home sold in the first quarter rose just 3.87% compared to the same period in 2018. Looking back over the last five quarters (starting with the first quarter of 2018) the general lessening of price increase is quite evident, as the sequence of increases is 5.64% in 1Q18, then 4.93% in 2Q18, followed by 4.63%, 4.12% and then 3.87% in the latest quarter, respectively.

In his comments, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun remarked that “Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year,” he said.

Even with somewhat greater purchasing power, potential homebuyers are still faced with a very limited inventory of properties to purchase. According to the NAR, the end of 2019’s first quarter saw 1.68 million existing homes available for sale, 2.4% up from 1.64 million at the end of 2018’s first quarter. Still, that's only about 3.8 months worth of supply, far below the 6 months which is considered to be optimal.

Although inventory levels of homes to buy are expected to continue to improve slightly as we go, market conditions for homebuyers remain a challenge. Even with lower-than-expected mortgage rates available and smaller price increases, affordability remains an issue for many potential buyers, so it may be hard to maintain the general improvement in existing home sales seen in the early part of 2019.

Potential homebuyers of more modest means looking to buy homes often struggle to come up with a downpayment and closing costs, especially in heated markets. Help making the jump to homeownership is often available but is tricky to find if you don't know where to look. To help wanna-be homebuyers, HSH has recently updated its database of Homebuyer Assistance Programs by state, where information about these valuable programs, vital website addresses, contact info and more can be found.

 

Chicago

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

For our calculations, HSH.com uses the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 first-quarter data for median-home prices, national mortgage rate data derived from weekly surveys by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and available property tax and homeowners insurance costs to determine the annual salary it takes to afford the base cost of owning a home (principal, interest, property tax and homeowner's insurance, or PITI) in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan 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.

At the bottom of each slide, we provide data to show how the required salary would change if you were to make a 10 percent down payment instead of a 20 percent. As we work from a fixed median home price, a smaller down payment means both a larger loan amount and the need to pay for private mortgage insurance, which in turn means even higher salary requirements.

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.

National

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $254,800

  •  Quarterly change: -1.24 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.87 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,371.81

Salary:  $58,791.86

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,734.43
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.84 percent

If a homebuyer wants to buy the National median-priced home with only 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases to $67,430.58

Atlanta

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $217,800

  •  Quarterly change: +0.79 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +6.5 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,127.23

Salary:  $48,309.87

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,530.29
  •  Year-over-year change: +6.68 percent

If homebuyers in the Atlanta metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $48,309.87 to $55,694.14.

Austin

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $303,400

  •  Quarterly change: -2.26 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.36 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,769.88

Salary:  $75,852.22

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,836.39
  •  Year-over-year change: +8.4 percent

If homebuyers in the Austin metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $75,852.22 to $86,138.66.

Baltimore

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $275,300

  •  Quarterly change: -1.75 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +8.51 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,475.33

Salary:  $63,228.43

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,216.92
  •  Year-over-year change: +8.01 percent

If homebuyers in the Baltimore metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $63,228.43 to $72,562.18.

Birmingham

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $203,600

  •  Quarterly change: +0.64 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,005.90

Salary:  $43,110.21

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,483.14
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.34 percent

If homebuyers in the Birmingham metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $43,110.21 to $50,013.05.

Boston

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $461,200

  •  Quarterly change: +0.2 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.18 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,404.69

Salary:  $103,058.20

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,731.73
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.45 percent

If homebuyers in the Boston metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $103,058.20 to $118,694.69.

Buffalo

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $146,700

  •  Quarterly change: -4.86 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +6 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,005.53

Salary:  $43,094.24

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,603.82
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.87 percent

If homebuyers in the Buffalo metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $43,094.24 to $48,067.94.

Charlotte

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $237,200

  •  Quarterly change: +0.76 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.77 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,187.19

Salary:  $50,879.67

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,675.96
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.48 percent

If homebuyers in the Charlotte metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $50,879.67 to $58,921.68.

Chicago

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $245,400

  •  Quarterly change: +0.86 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.36 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,500.98

Salary:  $64,327.51

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,690.63
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.72 percent

If homebuyers in the Chicago metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $64,327.51 to $72,647.53.

Cincinnati

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $169,500

  •  Quarterly change: +0.06 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +7.76 percent

Monthly payment:  $980.38

Salary:  $42,016.50

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,413.47
  •  Year-over-year change: +7.46 percent

If homebuyers in the Cincinnati metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $42,016.50 to $47,763.21.

Cleveland

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $149,600

  •  Quarterly change: -0.33 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +12.06 percent

Monthly payment:  $911.94

Salary:  $39,083.15

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,354.57
  •  Year-over-year change: +9.9 percent

If homebuyers in the Cleveland metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $39,083.15 to $44,155.18.

Columbus

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $193,500

  •  Quarterly change: -3.25 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.54 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,098.85

Salary:  $47,093.41

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,817.15
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.27 percent

If homebuyers in the Columbus metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $47,093.41 to $53,653.81.

Dallas

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $254,300

  •  Quarterly change: -0.24 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.44 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,484.59

Salary:  $63,625.39

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,257.10
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.69 percent

If homebuyers in the Dallas metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $63,625.39 to $72,247.15.

Denver

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $446,600

  •  Quarterly change: +1.89 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.16 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,086.25

Salary:  $89,410.57

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,261.88
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.51 percent

If homebuyers in the Denver metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $89,410.57 to $104,552.06.

Detroit

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $183,483

  •  Quarterly change: -1.52 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.72 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,043.87

Salary:  $44,737.43

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,065.46
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.01 percent

If homebuyers in the Detroit metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $44,737.43 to $50,958.22.

Hartford

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $213,600

  •  Quarterly change: -5.86 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: -3.61 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,424.06

Salary:  $61,031.10

  •  Quarterly change: -$4,224.27
  •  Year-over-year change: +0.3 percent

If homebuyers in the Hartford metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $61,031.10 to $68,272.98.

Houston

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $235,900

  •  Quarterly change: -0.84 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.65 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,400.93

Salary:  $60,039.81

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,356.44
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.65 percent

If homebuyers in the Houston metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $60,039.81 to $68,037.75.

Indianapolis

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $185,300

  •  Quarterly change: +0.05 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.22 percent

Monthly payment:  $950.65

Salary:  $40,741.99

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,546.93
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.51 percent

If homebuyers in the Indianapolis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $40,741.99 to $47,024.39.

Jacksonville

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $245,000

  •  Quarterly change: -0.77 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.87 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,290.19

Salary:  $55,293.82

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,415.11
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.17 percent

If homebuyers in the Jacksonville metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $55,293.82 to $63,600.28.

Kansas City

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $205,400

  •  Quarterly change: +0.69 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.89 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,120.86

Salary:  $48,036.83

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,480.15
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.39 percent

If homebuyers in the Kansas City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $48,036.83 to $55,000.69.

Las Vegas

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $298,900

  •  Quarterly change: +1.29 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +10.62 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,396.67

Salary:  $59,857.10

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,833.18
  •  Year-over-year change: +9.99 percent

If homebuyers in the Las Vegas metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $59,857.10 to $69,990.98.

Los Angeles

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.49 percent

Home price:  $548,600

  •  Quarterly change: -4.77 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +0.57 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,626.30

Salary:  $112,555.74

  •  Quarterly change: -$10,600.27
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.27 percent

If homebuyers in the Los Angeles metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $112,555.74 to $129,895.28.

Louisville

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $176,200

  •  Quarterly change: -2.17 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.4 percent

Monthly payment:  $936.26

Salary:  $40,125.23

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,197.92
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.02 percent

If homebuyers in the Louisville metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $40,125.23 to $46,099.10.

Memphis

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $170,500

  •  Quarterly change: -2.01 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.77 percent

Monthly payment:  $917.56

Salary:  $39,323.94

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,076.99
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.04 percent

If homebuyers in the Memphis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $39,323.94 to $45,104.56.

Miami

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $350,000

  •  Quarterly change: +0 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.94 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,790.97

Salary:  $76,755.97

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,956.25
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.3 percent

If homebuyers in the Miami metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $76,755.97 to $88,622.34.

Milwaukee

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $239,600

  •  Quarterly change: -1.72 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.92 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,359.83

Salary:  $58,278.26

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,788.01
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.86 percent

If homebuyers in the Milwaukee metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $58,278.26 to $66,401.63.

Minneapolis

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $275,500

  •  Quarterly change: +1.59 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.8 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,460.43

Salary:  $62,589.66

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,544.55
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.85 percent

If homebuyers in the Minneapolis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $62,589.66 to $71,930.19.

Nashville

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $259,300

  •  Quarterly change: -0.38 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.77 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,269.75

Salary:  $54,417.97

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,372.12
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.77 percent

If homebuyers in the Nashville metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $54,417.97 to $63,209.26.

New Orleans

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $204,500

  •  Quarterly change: -1.02 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.6 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,094.47

Salary:  $46,905.66

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,109.42
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.16 percent

If homebuyers in the New Orleans metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $46,905.66 to $53,839.02.

New York City

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $396,600

  •  Quarterly change: -1.81 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.77 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,356.81

Salary:  $101,006.15

  •  Quarterly change: -$4,678.19
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.53 percent

If homebuyers in the New York City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $101,006.15 to $114,452.44.

Oklahoma City

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $149,200

  •  Quarterly change: -7.33 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.08 percent

Monthly payment:  $884.99

Salary:  $37,928.03

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,407.38
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.41 percent

If homebuyers in the Oklahoma City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $37,928.03 to $42,986.49.

Orlando

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $267,000

  •  Quarterly change: +0.75 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.71 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,389.84

Salary:  $59,564.77

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,891.27
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.26 percent

If homebuyers in the Orlando metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $59,564.77 to $68,617.11.

Philadelphia

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $224,900

  •  Quarterly change: +0.13 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +9.55 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,331.14

Salary:  $57,048.98

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,845.01
  •  Year-over-year change: +8.86 percent

If homebuyers in the Philadelphia metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $57,048.98 to $64,673.98.

Phoenix

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $276,400

  •  Quarterly change: +1.36 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.86 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,304.65

Salary:  $55,913.68

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,661.33
  •  Year-over-year change: +6.14 percent

If homebuyers in the Phoenix metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $55,913.68 to $65,284.72.

Pittsburgh

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $137,800

  •  Quarterly change: -2.7 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.07 percent

Monthly payment:  $835.33

Salary:  $35,799.94

  •  Quarterly change: -$1,859.93
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.6 percent

If homebuyers in the Pittsburgh metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $35,799.94 to $40,471.90.

Portland

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $390,600

  •  Quarterly change: +0.41 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.51 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,917.18

Salary:  $82,165.04

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,008.03
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.41 percent

If homebuyers in the Portland metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $82,165.04 to $95,407.91.

Providence

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $284,200

  •  Quarterly change: -3.4 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.34 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,638.25

Salary:  $70,210.69

  •  Quarterly change: -$4,220.11
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.72 percent

If homebuyers in the Providence metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $70,210.69 to $79,846.18.

Raleigh

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $277,700

  •  Quarterly change: +0.29 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.24 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,378.75

Salary:  $59,089.25

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,200.00
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.73 percent

If homebuyers in the Raleigh metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $59,089.25 to $68,504.37.

Richmond

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $266,700

  •  Quarterly change: +3.98 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.42 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,310.55

Salary:  $56,166.28

  •  Quarterly change: -$396.64
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.63 percent

If homebuyers in the Richmond metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $56,166.28 to $65,208.46.

Riverside/San Bernardino

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $365,000

  •  Quarterly change: +1.39 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.29 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,781.70

Salary:  $76,358.72

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,173.13
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.68 percent

If homebuyers in the Riverside/San Bernardino metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $76,358.72 to $88,733.65.

Sacramento

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $360,000

  •  Quarterly change: -0.83 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.41 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,807.02

Salary:  $77,443.81

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,586.60
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.19 percent

If homebuyers in the Sacramento metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $77,443.81 to $89,649.22.

Salt Lake City

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $331,400

  •  Quarterly change: -0.21 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.92 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,548.75

Salary:  $66,374.98

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,926.52
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.93 percent

If homebuyers in the Salt Lake City metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $66,374.98 to $77,610.73.

San Antonio

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $226,500

  •  Quarterly change: -1.13 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.47 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,328.34

Salary:  $56,928.99

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,386.22
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.09 percent

If homebuyers in the San Antonio metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $56,928.99 to $64,608.23.

San Diego

Mortgage rate:  4.53 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.45 percent

Home price:  $620,000

  •  Quarterly change: -0.96 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.64 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,911.34

Salary:  $124,771.80

  •  Quarterly change: -$6,868.99
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.52 percent

If homebuyers in the San Diego metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $124,771.80 to $145,855.41.

San Francisco

Mortgage rate:  4.53 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.45 percent

Home price:  $930,000

  •  Quarterly change: -2.35 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +1.42 percent

Monthly payment:  $4,345.85

Salary:  $186,250.55

  •  Quarterly change: -$12,764.19
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.46 percent

If homebuyers in the San Francisco metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $186,250.55 to $214,886.69.

San Jose

Mortgage rate:  4.53 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.45 percent

Home price:  $1,220,000

  •  Quarterly change: -2.4 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: -11.14 percent

Monthly payment:  $5,552.83

Salary:  $237,978.37

  •  Quarterly change: -$16,857.36
  •  Year-over-year change: -9.21 percent

If homebuyers in the San Jose metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $237,978.37 to $275,544.06.

Seattle

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $497,000

  •  Quarterly change: +1.51 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +2.6 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,392.05

Salary:  $102,516.54

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,851.35
  •  Year-over-year change: +3.89 percent

If homebuyers in the Seattle metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $102,516.54 to $119,366.79.

St Louis

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $170,900

  •  Quarterly change: -1.84 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.23 percent

Monthly payment:  $984.43

Salary:  $42,189.78

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,025.78
  •  Year-over-year change: +5.46 percent

If homebuyers in the St Louis metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $42,189.78 to $47,983.96.

Tampa

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $234,900

  •  Quarterly change: -0.04 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.4 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,239.05

Salary:  $53,102.01

  •  Quarterly change: -$2,002.26
  •  Year-over-year change: +4.01 percent

If homebuyers in the Tampa metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $53,102.01 to $61,066.04.

Virginia Beach

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $217,000

  •  Quarterly change: -3.13 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: -0.46 percent

Monthly payment:  $1,139.57

Salary:  $48,838.91

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,106.62
  •  Year-over-year change: +0.99 percent

If homebuyers in the Virginia Beach metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $48,838.91 to $56,196.06.

Washington, D.C.

Mortgage rate:  4.49 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.41 percent

Home price:  $420,000

  •  Quarterly change: +0.62 percent
  •  Year-over-year change: +6.49 percent

Monthly payment:  $2,131.13

Salary:  $91,334.30

  •  Quarterly change: -$3,074.40
  •  Year-over-year change: +6.81 percent

If homebuyers in the Washington, D.C. metro put 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, the required salary increases from $91,334.30 to $105,573.95.

Alaska

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 2019 first-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 2013-2017 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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National data and all 50 metros, sorted alphabetically

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?

Metro Area30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate% Change from 4Q18Median
Home
Price
% Change from 4Q18Monthly Payment (PITI)Salary Needed
National4.49%-0.41%$254,800-1.24%$1,371.81$58,791.86
Atlanta4.49%-0.41%$217,800+0.79%$1,127.23$48,309.87
Austin4.49%-0.41%$303,400-2.26%$1,769.88$75,852.22
Baltimore4.49%-0.41%$275,300-1.75%$1,475.33$63,228.43
Birmingham4.49%-0.41%$203,600+0.64%$1,005.90$43,110.21
Boston4.49%-0.41%$461,200+0.20%$2,404.69$103,058.20
Buffalo4.49%-0.41%$146,700-4.86%$1,005.53$43,094.24
Charlotte4.49%-0.41%$237,200+0.76%$1,187.19$50,879.67
Chicago4.49%-0.41%$245,400+0.86%$1,500.98$64,327.51
Cincinnati4.49%-0.41%$169,500+0.06%$980.38$42,016.50
Cleveland4.49%-0.41%$149,600-0.33%$911.94$39,083.15
Columbus4.49%-0.41%$193,500-3.25%$1,098.85$47,093.41
Dallas4.49%-0.41%$254,300-0.24%$1,484.59$63,625.39
Denver4.49%-0.41%$446,600+1.89%$2,086.25$89,410.57
Detroit4.49%-0.41%$183,483-1.52%$1,043.87$44,737.43
Hartford4.49%-0.41%$213,600-5.86%$1,424.06$61,031.10
Houston4.49%-0.41%$235,900-0.84%$1,400.93$60,039.81
Indianapolis4.49%-0.41%$185,300+0.05%$950.65$40,741.99
Jacksonville4.49%-0.41%$245,000-0.77%$1,290.19$55,293.82
Kansas City4.49%-0.41%$205,400+0.69%$1,120.86$48,036.83
Las Vegas4.49%-0.41%$298,900+1.29%$1,396.67$59,857.10
Los Angeles4.49%-0.49%$548,600-4.77%$2,626.30$112,555.74
Louisville4.49%-0.41%$176,200-2.17%$936.26$40,125.23
Memphis4.49%-0.41%$170,500-2.01%$917.56$39,323.94
Miami4.49%-0.41%$350,000+0.00%$1,790.97$76,755.97
Milwaukee4.49%-0.41%$239,600-1.72%$1,359.83$58,278.26
Minneapolis4.49%-0.41%$275,500+1.59%$1,460.43$62,589.66
Nashville4.49%-0.41%$259,300-0.38%$1,269.75$54,417.97
New Orleans4.49%-0.41%$204,500-1.02%$1,094.47$46,905.66
New York City4.49%-0.41%$396,600-1.81%$2,356.81$101,006.15
Oklahoma City4.49%-0.41%$149,200-7.33%$884.99$37,928.03
Orlando4.49%-0.41%$267,000+0.75%$1,389.84$59,564.77
Philadelphia4.49%-0.41%$224,900+0.13%$1,331.14$57,048.98
Phoenix4.49%-0.41%$276,400+1.36%$1,304.65$55,913.68
Pittsburgh4.49%-0.41%$137,800-2.70%$835.33$35,799.94
Portland4.49%-0.41%$390,600+0.41%$1,917.18$82,165.04
Providence4.49%-0.41%$284,200-3.40%$1,638.25$70,210.69
Raleigh4.49%-0.41%$277,700+0.29%$1,378.75$59,089.25
Richmond4.49%-0.41%$266,700+3.98%$1,310.55$56,166.28
Riverside/San Bernardino4.49%-0.41%$365,000+1.39%$1,781.70$76,358.72
Sacramento4.49%-0.41%$360,000-0.83%$1,807.02$77,443.81
Salt Lake City4.49%-0.41%$331,400-0.21%$1,548.75$66,374.98
San Antonio4.49%-0.41%$226,500-1.13%$1,328.34$56,928.99
San Diego4.53%-0.45%$620,000-0.96%$2,911.34$124,771.80
San Francisco4.53%-0.45%$930,000-2.35%$4,345.85$186,250.55
San Jose4.53%-0.45%$1,220,000-2.40%$5,552.83$237,978.37
Seattle4.49%-0.41%$497,000+1.51%$2,392.05$102,516.54
St Louis4.49%-0.41%$170,900-1.84%$984.43$42,189.78
Tampa4.49%-0.41%$234,900-0.04%$1,239.05$53,102.01
Virginia Beach4.49%-0.41%$217,000-3.13%$1,139.57$48,838.91
Washington, D.C.4.49%-0.41%$420,000+0.62%$2,131.13$91,334.30

Comments

  1. Gail R April 11, 2019 1:38 am

    Why is Chicago so cheap, is everyone leaving?

      Reply»  
  2. Bubba September 15, 2018 8:31 pm

    Honolulu Hawaii is shockingly not included in your list. Please add it

      Reply»  
    1. jim March 06, 2019 1:45 am

      I wouldn't go off what the realtor says, you know there is no jobs that pay those salary's around the area...so get ready for a market crash and I mean all over.

        Reply »  
  3. EphYoo December 02, 2017 3:40 pm

    NYC @ $419k median home price is an absolutely joke. The median price is double that number, so salary "guesstimate" on this article is half of what would be needed, so you can double that $99k annual salary to $180,000. These numbers are far from accurate. Pass on any data contained here.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 8:35 pm

      If you take the time to check the "metro definitions page" you'll find that the OMB definition of the metro area is quite expansive and well beyond Manhattan and the five boroughs. The area includes the counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester (NY); Essex, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic (NJ); Dutchess, Orange (NY), Pike (PA), and we stand by our calculation (for details, check the "About" slide).

        Reply »  
  4. Jackie November 27, 2017 6:55 pm

    Just wondering what you consider a "home". The claim that the median price of a "home" in Miami is $340,000 makes me think that even studio apartments are counted in this equation. I don't think you can find a home for $340,000 in Miami unless you are including studio apartments. The houses in my Miami neighborhood start at $630,000, while most cost at least $700,000. Studio apartments usually start at $130,000 but can go for much more.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 9:04 pm

      Please know that we don't define a home at all; we use the National Association of Realtors median price for an existing single-family home. Also, as the area included in the calculation covers the entire metropolitan area (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties) is it certainly likely that homes in the city proper or in your specific neighborhood will be higher, but that's not necessarily the case when you get further away from the center city.

        Reply »  
  5. Tom Boston November 27, 2017 4:39 pm

    Your definition of Boston extends to places 50 miles away. It's a small concentrated city. Difference between the center and even 20 miles out is sometimes 3 fold.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 9:06 pm

      We don't define the metro areas used in our analysis; rather, we use the definitions as provided by the Office of Management and Budget.

        Reply »  
  6. Jay November 26, 2017 3:55 pm

    So, Honolulu is the 46th most populous city in the United States, with a metropolitan area boasting a population of 955,000, and is the most expensive to purchase a home (median prices starting at over $650,000). Shouldn't they have been included in this article?

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 8:50 pm

      The current (July 2016) population estimate for the Urban Honolulu, HI Metropolitan Statistical Area from the Census Bureau sees the area ranked #54 in terms of population. Even though it is historically an expensive housing area, it misses the cut.

        Reply »  
  7. fran November 25, 2017 3:31 pm

    It's fine to say the median price of a home in NEW YORK CITY IS approximately $400,000, but in Manhattan the median price is well over a million and a $100,00 salary really won't cut it unless you bought property decades ago. One East Village building that sold for 2.5 million in the 1980s now has individual apartments for that price. This survey really doesn't tell it like it is.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 8:52 pm

      The calculation includes the entire New York City metropolitan area, not just Manhattan or the five boroughs. Please check the "metro definitions" page for details.

        Reply »  
  8. Syd November 22, 2017 8:22 pm

    Did you use median homes defined as single family or including condo and coop?

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team December 06, 2017 8:56 pm

      The data from the National Association of Realtors that we use in our calculation covers existing single-family homes only.

        Reply »  
  9. Mark November 21, 2017 7:10 pm

    What about Honolulu? I'm sure the median home price and the salary needed would rank towards the top.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team November 21, 2017 8:45 pm

      The National Association of Realtors reported that the Urban Honolulu metro area had a median home price of $760,200 in the third quarter of 2017. This would have fit in between San Diego and San Francisco, and using our methodology, a reckoning for the salary needed to buy a median-priced existing home there would be $135,800.56 The metro area is ranked #54 in terms of population. so it just missed our list of top 50.

        Reply »  
  10. Marc November 21, 2017 5:47 am

    Has there been talk of changing or modifying the 28/36 rule to better reflect the cost of living excluding housing and loans? At present this table uses a fixed 28% to get from PITI to Salary Needed regardless of where you are in the USA.The problem is the PITI now ranges from $821.46 for Pittsburgh to $5,044.23 for San Jose. A median home is 6.1 times more expensive in the San Jose metro area than the Pittsburgh metro area. However, other costs such as an automobile, food, and utilities (electricity, gas, water) are roughly the same for San Jose vs. Pittsburgh.Someone maxed out at 36% of gross income for home, auto, and credit cards loans would have $1,056.16 of extra spending money per month for life's essentials in Pittsburgh and $6,485.44 per month extra in San Jose. It's tough to live on $1,056.16 if you are paying for a kid in college or trying to set aside money for major repairs. You can live like a king if you have an extra $6,485.44 per month coming in.Thus, it seems the 28/36 rule needs to be more flexible. The main advantage for folks in San Jose is they could live like they are in Pittsburgh (spending under $1000/month) and to add $5,500 per month to savings. Building up an extra $66,000 of savings every year would be bad for the economy but allows the San Jose folks to call their own shots in life. Every month they would be saving up more than their PITI. The main downside is very few people have a $216,181.25/year or more minimum gross income needed to pass the 28/36 rule in San Jose.

      Reply»  
    1. Editorial Team November 21, 2017 8:49 pm

      The good news of sorts is that while we do calculations using traditional rules, market rules allow for "back-end" ratios that are commonly higher. The FHA allows for 41 percent total DTIs; Qualified Mortgage rules allow for 43%, and Fannie and Freddie are currently purchasing loans with total DTIs of up to 50 percent. While this may be more reflective of reality in some eyes, the truth is that carrying this much debt can put you at a greater risk of financial trouble, so adhering to a more conservative level of debt is likely to be safer and more sustainable over time.

        Reply »  

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