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75% of the top 100 metropolitan areas have now achieved full home price recovery. Is yours one of them?

75% of the top 100 metropolitan areas have now achieved full home price recovery. Is yours one of them?

Second slide Second slide

The salary you must earn to buy a home in the 50 largest metros Updated on:

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 1Q19Median Home Price% Change from 1Q19Monthly Payment (PITI)Salary Needed
National4.14%-0.35%$279,600+9.69%$1,426.21$61,123.21
Atlanta4.14%-0.35%$239,700+10.06%$1,176.45$50,419.42
Austin4.14%-0.35%$343,700+13.28%$1,876.49$80,421.02
Baltimore4.14%-0.35%$308,400+12.02%$1,558.59$66,796.86
Birmingham4.14%-0.35%$233,300+14.59%$1,087.76$46,618.33
Boston4.14%-0.35%$506,700+9.87%$2,505.53$107,379.75
Buffalo4.14%-0.35%$157,500+7.36%$1,023.34$43,857.46
Charlotte4.14%-0.35%$266,100+12.18%$1,260.41$54,017.65
Chicago4.14%-0.35%$278,300+13.41%$1,588.38$68,073.52
Cincinnati4.14%-0.35%$194,100+14.51%$1,048.04$44,916.13
Cleveland4.14%-0.35%$169,000+12.97%$962.68$41,257.51
Columbus4.14%-0.35%$228,300+17.98%$1,202.17$51,521.72
Dallas4.14%-0.35%$275,400+8.30%$1,524.70$65,344.35
Denver4.14%-0.35%$471,400+5.55%$2,109.08$90,389.26
Detroit4.14%-0.35%$199,027+8.47%$1,074.06$46,030.95
Hartford4.14%-0.35%$244,500+14.47%$1,508.93$64,668.45
Houston4.14%-0.35%$249,400+5.72%$1,414.55$60,623.41
Indianapolis4.14%-0.35%$203,300+9.71%$990.07$42,431.53
Jacksonville4.14%-0.35%$255,000+4.08%$1,288.71$55,230.61
Kansas City4.14%-0.35%$227,000+10.52%$1,170.96$50,183.89
Las Vegas4.14%-0.35%$301,500+0.87%$1,357.58$58,181.93
Los Angeles4.14%-0.35%$567,000+3.35%$2,607.49$111,749.70
Louisville4.14%-0.35%$198,000+12.37%$991.94$42,511.52
Memphis4.14%-0.35%$194,000+13.78%$980.78$42,033.41
Miami4.14%-0.35%$360,000+2.86%$1,772.22$75,952.25
Milwaukee4.14%-0.35%$278,100+16.07%$1,469.94$62,997.37
Minneapolis4.14%-0.35%$294,100+6.75%$1,487.34$63,742.95
Nashville4.14%-0.35%$276,800+6.75%$1,295.06$55,502.40
New Orleans4.14%-0.35%$228,700+11.83%$1,154.81$49,491.88
New York City4.14%-0.35%$420,800+6.10%$2,385.54$102,237.58
Oklahoma City4.14%-0.35%$162,400+8.85%$911.71$39,073.13
Orlando4.14%-0.35%$278,000+4.12%$1,388.63$59,512.87
Philadelphia4.14%-0.35%$254,300+13.07%$1,408.33$60,356.94
Phoenix4.14%-0.35%$285,500+3.29%$1,294.51$55,479.21
Pittsburgh4.14%-0.35%$160,000+16.11%$898.88$38,523.62
Portland4.14%-0.35%$415,300+6.32%$1,948.85$83,522.03
Providence4.14%-0.35%$316,600+11.40%$1,717.33$73,599.83
Raleigh4.14%-0.35%$296,600+6.81%$1,406.46$60,276.97
Richmond4.14%-0.35%$285,700+7.12%$1,340.46$57,448.22
Riverside/San Bernardino4.14%-0.35%$380,000+4.11%$1,779.90$76,281.54
Sacramento4.14%-0.35%$385,000+6.94%$1,844.89$79,066.54
Salt Lake City4.14%-0.35%$358,000+8.03%$1,597.53$68,465.75
San Antonio4.14%-0.35%$238,800+5.43%$1,338.85$57,379.12
San Diego4.26%-0.27%$655,000+5.65%$2,970.17$127,292.88
San Francisco4.26%-0.27%$1,050,000+12.90%$4,700.05$201,430.63
San Jose4.26%-0.27%$1,330,000+9.02%$5,830.64$249,884.51
Seattle4.14%-0.35%$542,700+9.20%$2,487.77$106,618.90
St Louis4.14%-0.35%$194,800+13.98%$1,049.14$44,963.02
Tampa4.14%-0.35%$245,000+4.30%$1,239.62$53,126.68
Virginia Beach4.14%-0.35%$247,000+13.82%$1,220.39$52,302.47
Washington, D.C.4.14%-0.35%$456,500+8.69%$2,203.79$94,448.22
Leave a Comment

 
Connor lee May 23, 2019 2:34 pm    

Great website

Rick Smith April 25, 2019 5:25 pm    

Did you forget Honolulu is part of the US?

Editorial Team July 19, 2019 6:55 pm

No, but we did remember that current (2018) population estimate for the Urban Honolulu, HI Metropolitan Statistical Area from the Census Bureau sees the area ranked #56 in terms of population. As such, it missed our "top 50" cut off, even though it is historically a very expensive area for housing.

Gail R April 11, 2019 1:38 am    

Why is Chicago so cheap, is everyone leaving?

Bubba September 15, 2018 8:31 pm    

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Syd November 22, 2017 8:22 pm    

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Victor May 13, 2019 8:35 pm

Thank you for sharing your wisdom about 28/36 rule. It is so important for all generations to understand the value of stability and not be carried away with relentless ads of "6x gross income affordability" tilting the market to inevitable collapse.

K2 November 20, 2017 9:14 pm    

Your property tax estimates for California do not appear to take in account Prop 13. Upon sale the property is reassessed to the purchase price. In my area of San Jose the actual tax rate is 1.3% $1194 parcel tax. Your $1,165,000 property tax bill would be approximately $16,340 or $1362 per month.

Editorial Team November 21, 2017 9:01 pm

The tax data we use in our calculations comes from the Census Bureau as part of the American Community Survey. The figures we use are medians for the metro area.

Novacek September 08, 2017 3:44 pm    

You (appropriately) include property taxes, but do you also include state/local income taxes?If one state takes 5k in property taxes, and another takes 5k from you in income taxes, it has an equal effect on affordability.

Editorial Team September 27, 2017 3:59 pm

The calculation for mortgage qualification performed by lenders is done using pre-tax income, so this is the calculation we employ. Income taxes and other costs (utilities, commuting, etc) are part of the cost of living, and certainly can affect one's level of financial comfort, but play no role in mortgage qualification.

Queen June 20, 2017 12:45 pm    

Great article. Atlanta 40k

Husband June 20, 2017 12:43 pm    

This is a great article to read, it shows Atlanta at around $40K. Thought you might like to take a look at this

RJ May 25, 2017 12:56 pm    

It's always interesting to me how these "National" surveys always skip over Indianapolis, in favor of dying markets like Cleveland, Cincinnati, St Louis, Pittsburg all of which are loosing population. Even Chicago has been loosing population since 2000. Indianapolis is the 14th largest city by population and has had a population growth of 9% from 2000 - 2015.

Editorial Team May 30, 2017 8:30 pm

Currently, we are covering only the 27 largest metro areas; according to the latest Census estimates, Indianapolis comes in at #32. However, it might interest you to know that based on the same methodology as the areas we do cover, that the Indianapolis metro area, with a median home price of $152,900 in the first quarter of 2017 would have required a salary of $34,979.46, good enough for fourth lowest of our group.

Ken January 31, 2017 8:43 pm    

When I purchased a home 20 years ago, the going rate was 3X salary, so $50,000 salary would equate to $150,000 home and that took into account a small down payment (

Editorial Team February 07, 2017 7:59 pm

You can check the methodology slide at the end of the show, but we use the industry standard 28 percent "front end" ratio for the PITI calculation. One considerable difference between years ago and today are much lower mortgage rates, which materially improve a given income's debt-carrying ability (aka as "lower mortgage rates increase borrowing ability").

Kersten January 06, 2017 1:09 am    

Is this based on 20% down? These numbers (especially in Texas) are inaccurate. Did your methods consider 3% property tax? I don't know anyone with a 1,200/month payment on a home in Dallas.

Editorial Team January 11, 2017 9:36 pm

Yes, the calculations are done with 20 percent down (you can see calcs at a 10% down payment on the individual slide for Dallas). Please know that the metro area is considerably larger than just Dallas -- see the metro definitions here http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html and the methodology can be found on the "About" slide at the end of the group.

Jerri January 01, 2017 5:12 am    

Cincinnati, you have got to be kidding, property taxes are ridiculous for new homeowners unless there is an abatement. Not too many of those.

Michael H December 07, 2016 12:10 am    

What's your down payment for each of these loans, and is this median list price, or median reported list price, and does it take into account any immediate sweat equity work (fixer-uppers which have real costs higher than what they sell for)?

Editorial Team January 05, 2017 2:55 pm

You can find our methodology for calculating these salaries on the last slide. Here's a link: http://www.hsh.com/finance/mortgage/salary-home-buying-25-cities.html#how-did-we-come-up-with-these-salaries

jennifer November 21, 2016 1:35 pm    

Having worked in this industry, I am shocked that the "standard"front and back end ratios are still being touted and promoted as a means of what is affordable for a person or a family (regardless of geographical location)...I would never allow a client to base their affordability on their Gross income and not take taxes, household expenses (basics like electricity, gas, water, cable, etc), emergency fund, and some level of retirement planning into consideration (even as low as 6% of gross income). And yes, debt should also play a role (though that is an individual variable). If we as a country are looking for another housing bubble/crash, using these sorts of calculations will definitely help in making that happen. Either wages need to rise, home prices need to adjust downward, or taxes/expenses need to decrease.

Editorial Team January 05, 2017 3:14 pm

The "standard" 28%/36% ratios have been in place for a long, long time and the market performed well with them (when adhered to, and in conjunction with items such as proper income documentation) in both good times and bad. Also, please know that our calculation does take into account available tax and insurance information. It's admirable that you look deeper into a client's finances, and of course you know that debts do play a role in qualification. However, items such as cable, emergency funds and retirement planning have always been beyond the scope of mortgage qualification and likely always will be.

JP November 20, 2016 3:14 pm    

I'm not sure why you're even in business. These numbers are bogus. Let's start with NY :) If you can't differentiate between LI and NYC you obviously have no idea what you're doing or what you're talking about.A one bedroom in NYC averages around 750K....

Editorial Team January 05, 2017 3:23 pm

While we realize that midtown Manhattan real estate is of course more expensive (as it usually is any center-city review) the information we use is provided by the National Association of Realtors, who uses the Office of Management and Budget definition to define the area covered. We provide this information here: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.htmlThis covers the "New York City" metro area on which our calculations are based.

Joe Gomes November 16, 2016 10:56 pm    

Is there a reason Hawaiian and Alaskan metro areas were not considered in this article?

Editorial Team January 05, 2017 3:25 pm

Yes. We provide information covering the 27 largest metropolitan areas (in terms of population, ranked by Census) as a basis for the feature.

Philip S. Moore October 25, 2016 1:13 am    

Is there any calculation of standard deviation for these numbers? Since some of these urban areas have a vast difference between median and mean, it would be interesting to know whether the "average" is consistent with the "normal".

Editorial Team October 25, 2016 2:26 pm

Phillip,Thanks for all your comments. No, we do not take standard deviation into account. We can only use the data that is readily available to us: The NAR's median home prices by metro area. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Oak Laurel October 22, 2016 9:47 am    

Spare a thought for us Aussies in Sydney where the median hose price is over $1 million Australian dollars. Melbourne houses are almost as expensive with a median price of over $800,000.

Jordan K September 21, 2016 10:06 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.

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 2:49 pm

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

Naomi September 20, 2016 6:34 pm    

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 ..

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 2:56 pm

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

Richard September 20, 2016 2:32 pm    

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.

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 2:59 pm

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

Liisa Lippincott September 19, 2016 5:49 pm    

What about Honolulu, Hawaii?

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 3:01 pm

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

FN September 17, 2016 10:12 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.

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 3:05 pm

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

Jeff September 17, 2016 4:17 am    

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!

Richard September 16, 2016 7:53 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.

Editorial Team September 22, 2016 3:10 pm

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

B September 13, 2016 4:30 pm    

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.

Rick Dykema September 21, 2016 2:16 pm

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

Editorial Team September 13, 2016 7:25 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.

Kirsten September 13, 2016 3:34 am    

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

Editorial Team September 13, 2016 7:27 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.

AJ Johnston September 13, 2016 1:31 am    

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.

Laura September 12, 2016 11:20 pm    

Why isn't Kansas City, Missouri on here?

Editorial Team September 13, 2016 7:30 pm

Laura, Because we are utilizing the 27-largest metro areas (as defined by the OMB). Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

tada September 12, 2016 8:53 pm    

Guys,in Atlanta atleast, the pricing is very underestimated. in any reasonable neighborhood, prices are north of 400k atleast.

Editorial Team September 13, 2016 7:31 pm

Tada, You're probably right. But we're using the data that is available to us and to everyone else: median home prices (half sold for more, half sold for less) in the metro area. The Atlanta metro area is defined here: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Mariano Cortes September 12, 2016 8:03 pm    

How disappointing, i want to buy a home in NY, Long Island, i think i need a huge raise to do so.

Erika September 10, 2016 10:58 pm    

$480,000 in Los Angeles?! Try doubling that! Where are these numbers coming from??

Editorial Team September 13, 2016 7:44 pm

Erika, These home price numbers are coming from the National Association of Realtors. It is the median home price (half the homes sold for more, half sold for less) for the entire LA metro area. See metro definitions here: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html Thanks for commenting. Tim Manni, HSH.com

James Fountain September 04, 2016 11:37 pm    

You should check out home pricing in and around Austin Tx. It's very expensive there. The closer to the city the more it costs. Very expensive.

Rob September 03, 2016 6:43 am    

Looks like SF is not treated as the "major metropolitan area" of the Bay Area. So this compares SF without Oakland or Alemeda to NYC with Bronx and Staten Island. I'm sure there are similar issues in other cities.

Melina M September 13, 2016 5:21 pm

Actually, it looks like "San Francisco" includes all of the city, Alameda county, Marin county, San Mateo county, and Contra Costa county. If it were San Francisco by itself, the median price goes up by over a quarter million dollars to about $1.15 million, which is actually down from the $1.3 million at the beginning of the year.Citation: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html and http://sf.curbed.com/2015/12/8/9893366/san-franciscos-median-house-price-holds-strong-at-1-3m

Mike September 02, 2016 3:01 am    

What is Burlington, VT?

Lisa September 01, 2016 6:57 pm    

Hi, I have been looking at apartments in NYC and Los Angeles and was surprised that LA was more expensive than NYC. From what I have seen NYC is so much more expensive. Just wondering if you would have any additional factors/insights that would go into the stats.

Editorial Team September 06, 2016 8:37 pm

Hey Lisa, thanks for commenting. "Just wondering if you would have any additional factors/insights that would go into the stats." If you look on the first and last slide you will see all the factors that went into these calculations. Thanks for commenting. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Ray August 31, 2016 2:26 pm    

Where in nyc can I buy a house for $395k? I would like to know

Editorial Team September 06, 2016 8:40 pm

Ray: Thanks for commenting. It's important to remember that the $395K is the median price number from the National Association of Realtors. It's also the median priced number for the entire metro area, not simply NYC. I think we both agree that it would be quite difficult to buy anything in the Manhattan, for example, for $395K. -Tim Manni, HSH.com.

Jason November 20, 2016 3:20 pm

If NYC includes the metro area average, why don't you state so? Why are you calling it NYC? NYC does not include metro areas from our perspective and these numbers look fluffed.

Editorial Team January 05, 2017 3:17 pm

We do mention "metro" right in the title of the article... and it is the "New York City" metro area on which our calculations are based. The National Association of Realtors uses the Office of Management and Budget definition to define the area covered, and we provide this information here: http://www.hsh.com/finance/real-estate/metro-area-definitions.html

DC renter August 31, 2016 11:10 am    

Your logic for calculating these figures is flawed. Living in DC, saving enough to put down 20% is the obstacle in buying a home.

Editorial Team September 06, 2016 8:43 pm

DC Renter: You say "Your logic for calculating these figures is flawed. Living in DC, saving enough to put down 20% is the obstacle in buying a home." We also provide salary figures for a 10% down payment (which factors in mortgage insurance) in the commentary portion of each slide. Thanks for commenting. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Matt V August 30, 2016 1:47 am    

And Honolulu? Guessing it is #3!!!

Tom August 29, 2016 9:46 pm    

A 10 second google search will reveal that the average home price in Manhattan is $1.8 Million. What on earth is being calculated to give NYC a median of $395k?

Editorial Team September 06, 2016 8:45 pm

Tom: "A 10 second google search will reveal that the average home price in Manhattan is $1.8 Million. What on earth is being calculated to give NYC a median of $395k?" In the first slide we indicate that the home price number is the median home price from the National Association of Realtors for the New York METRO AREA, not just Manhattan. Thanks for commenting. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Greg August 28, 2016 3:55 pm    

What estimates are you using for taxes? Seems a little low on the PITI figure for a house that price in the greater Seattle, King County area. Taxes on a $420k house would be in the $4000-5000/yr range right now, which would lead to a payment of $2000-2100/mo. Not a huge difference, but just an observation that got me curious on the source of property tax data for the article.

Editorial Team September 06, 2016 8:48 pm

Greg: You commented: "What estimates are you using for taxes? Seems a little low on the PITI figure for a house that price in the greater Seattle, King County area?" In the final slide we indicate that "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." Thanks for commenting. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

lex August 28, 2016 2:55 pm    

Why would you look at San Antonio but not Austin? Austin has been experiencing huge population growth causing house and rent prices to rise and be unaffordable or too competitive for most.

Ames August 27, 2016 6:56 pm    

The "New York City" numbers and the photo of Times Square are incredibly misleading. Click on the link to see the metro areas defined, and you'll find a list of all the primary counties included, and even the secondary outlying counties included when they determined their numbers. Nowhere in the New York list - NOWHERE! - is Manhattan county listed. Manhattan county is literally the island of Manhattan - what most people mean when they say NYC. So to say it costs so little to live in a place called New York City with a picture of Times Square? They should say 5 Boroughs (Queens, Bronx, etc) and show a picture of a bridge or a tunnel. Do not believe that anyone making $100k can actually purchase a home in NYC. Absurd. Believe me, I wish it was true. Apartment living here will suck you dry.

Warner Samuels August 26, 2016 10:58 am    

Not even close as far as Boston is concerned...

Jeannie Hunter August 26, 2016 6:39 am    

I'd like to see an expanded version... top 100 cities?

Ben August 26, 2016 4:42 am    

$480,000 house price in LA? Yeah right. Where is this house? Compton next to the gangbangers and drug dealers?

Philip S. Moore October 25, 2016 1:18 am

Compton, of course, is one possibility, but also consider that the Los Angeles MSA includes Antelope Valley (Los Angeles County) and Riverside, where lower cost housing is one of the promoted attractions for those who do not immediately crave the beauties of the Mojave Desert.

will gultom August 25, 2016 9:35 pm    

I live in los angeles suburb, I have no Credit card debt nor car loan or any other loan. our net take home pay is around $70,000 and I am looking for a house to buy in Pasadena, what should be my ideal home loan?

pacerguy00 August 25, 2016 2:14 pm    

PLEASE STOP USING THE MSA for DC/VA/MD/WV. Home prices in Jefferson County WV are not even in the same ballpark as DC. It would be like comparing a tent in the woods to a home with gold leaf laid by the hands of Michelangelo. Remove counties that are literally 75 miles from the DC city center and you will see that prices will exceed all but SF and NY.

Elizabeth August 25, 2016 5:20 am    

Wish you would have included Nashville, TN since it currently has the highest housing market in the country.

Mike August 25, 2016 3:47 am    

Where's Austin? Because its expensive af here in the central ish area

Elise August 25, 2016 2:23 am    

What about northern Louisiana?

Jeff August 24, 2016 6:27 pm    

This report is extremely flawed as it did not account for property taxes. In Chicago housing doesn't look too bad until property tax is included.

DJ Camillon August 24, 2016 4:06 pm    

Good morning! Your article is quite informative and a bit shocking! Some places I would never have imagined are more affordable than I initially would have thought and others are way more than I would have guessed! (Tampa, so LOW?! It's in the Sunshine State where EVERYTHING is expensive! And Portland, so HIGH?! I never would have guessed it was that expensive to live there!! LOL!!) I live in Salt Lake City the last two years and upon moving here, my wife & I were a bit "sticker shocked" by the cost of housing after moving here from Atlanta where we built a 4-bed/2.5 bath house from the ground up for less than $170,000 in 2005. I'm curious to know where Salt Lake's metro would end up on this list, as that would be a useful comparison for my family and I! I would like to talk her into leaving so this kind of information could be tremendously useful. Thanks!

Jeremy Stuckey September 14, 2016 2:17 pm

Ever been to Tampa? A quick google search (Can be used for any city not just SLC) told me that "The median home value in Salt Lake City is $314.000" That is this mornings #s.

Arthur T. Himmelman August 24, 2016 12:39 pm    

I understand the entire "housing bubble" in San Franciso is insured against earthquakes by the same companies that insured Lehmen Brothers and other Wall Street banks in 2008.

Cary August 23, 2016 9:55 pm    

27 areas seems like a strange number to stop. Can you please calculate the numbers for Honolulu and Las Vegas also? Thank you.

Winfield Aukamp August 23, 2016 6:48 pm    

Good luck buying a home in NYC for 395K. Try a meaningful metric next time, like an actual average, which is probably closer to 800K for Brooklyn, and probably higher for Manhattan. Shame on you for telling people they could afford a home in NYC on 86K a year.

Chaitra Ashish August 11, 2016 7:39 pm    

Where can one buy a home for $770,300 these days? Not in the SF, peninsula region for sure. Median home prices are above 1 million.

Jeremy Stuckey September 14, 2016 2:58 pm

Out here in Dallas you can easaly buy a house for $180,000It's all about where you want to live.

Maia August 05, 2016 2:50 am    

What about Anchorage, AK?

Ronda July 05, 2016 9:32 am    

Can you do this calculation for Honolulu county%u2026 note that NAR uses statistics for Honolulu as the county of Honolulu or the entire island so the #s could be construed as false for the city of Honolulu

Eleanor May 10, 2016 8:00 pm    

I just bought a house in the Riverside county area after looking in the San Diego county area where I have lived for over 30 years. There is no way my realtor would have gotten me a mortgage for that low monthly payment that INCLUDES impound of property taxes 1% AND the cheapest home owners insurance of 50 bucks. I have a near 800 credit score and low debt. Maybe if we signed up for a NO INTEREST Jumbo loan...

AP May 30, 2016 6:50 pm

These numbers are if you put 20% down.

Greg Hall March 26, 2016 2:51 pm    

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.

Beth Gilbert March 22, 2016 3:21 pm    

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.

Editorial Team March 28, 2016 4:23 pm

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

james hearo April 09, 2016 10:07 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.

Editorial Team April 12, 2016 4:15 pm

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

Kim March 16, 2016 7:07 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.?

Editorial Team March 16, 2016 8:49 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

Jeff Grenz March 07, 2016 5:53 pm    

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.

Editorial Team March 07, 2016 6:04 pm

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

Jim Klecha March 07, 2016 3:31 pm    

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?

Mike March 06, 2016 3:04 am    

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.

Editorial Team March 07, 2016 3:28 pm

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

The Doc March 05, 2016 12:21 pm    

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

Editorial Team March 07, 2016 3:29 pm

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

Doc R March 05, 2016 12:16 pm    

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?

Editorial Team March 07, 2016 3:35 pm

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

Daisy Swearingen March 04, 2016 4:31 pm    

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

Editorial Team March 04, 2016 9:32 pm

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

Pat Hupp March 04, 2016 1:38 pm    

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!

Editorial Team March 04, 2016 9:33 pm

Thanks Pat!!

Paul Hughes March 04, 2016 1:29 pm    

Interesting that the rates fell in every metro area despite the 0 to .25% increase in the Fed range. (Sideways interesting that home prices *rose* in all but three areas %u2014 and those that declined were minimal %u2014at the same time.) I saw from your methodology page that you said, "our 2015 fourth-quarter average interest rate for a 30-year ... " were the basis for rate calculations. What does that mean "our ... average?" Only lenders that have some affiliation with HSH? Or it's a proprietary average you regularly collect/compile?

Editorial Team March 04, 2016 9:30 pm

Paul, Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, the Fed did increase their target for the Fed Funds rate, but the FF rate doesn't have a direct effect on mortgage rates. You may be interested in the following articles: -http://library.hsh.com/articles/more-tools-resources-and-info/mortgage-basics/does-the-federal-funds-rate-affect-mortgage-rates/ -http://library.hsh.com/articles/more-tools-resources-and-info/mortgage-basics/what-moves-mortgage-rates-the-basics/ -http://www.hsh.com/finance/mortgage/latest-move-by-the-federal-reserve.html HSH.com has been a surveyor and publisher of mortgage rates for over 30 years. We call lenders from all around the country each day. Yes, it is a proprietary average we regularly collect/compile. Thanks again for the great comment, Tim Manni, HSH/com

Joe L. March 03, 2016 9:07 pm    

If you buy a house in Chicago on a $58,000 salary, you are probably going to get shot. I would like to see the salary needed to afford a place in Chicago where you could actually survive.

Editorial Team March 03, 2016 9:35 pm

Joe, Thanks for your comment. One thing to remember is that this examines the Chicago metro area, not just the city limits. This salary number is also with a 20% down payment. If you went 10% down, the salary increases to $65,263. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Chicagokindablows March 02, 2016 9:59 pm    

Chicago would actually be a lot more if you wanted a house in a desired area.

Editorial Team March 03, 2016 9:38 pm

CKB, Thanks for your comment. Remember, this study focuses on "metro area," not simply the city of Chicago. It also factors in a 20% down payment. At 10% down, the salary increases to $65,263. It would be even higher at 5% down. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Robin December 26, 2015 1:57 pm    

How did you arrive at that number? I mean, I get how you came up with the costs for the house, but how did you determine how much you need to make above that? Because by my math, after taxes, insurance, and conservative 401k pay-ins, $919 is more than an every-two-weeks paycheck. So, they can afford a house, but it's taking more than half of their take home pay? So the other check is supposed to pay all the utilities, car, insurance, gas, food, clothes, phone, furniture, appliances, problems, etc.? I hope they don't get cable and go bankrupt. Maybe they won the down payment in a lottery.

Editorial Team December 28, 2015 3:38 pm

Hi Robin -- the methodology we use to determine the salary can be found on the last slide. Please know that we use industry standard guidelines regarding how much can be spent on Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (PITI), which can make up no more than 28 percent of the monthly GROSS (pre-tax) income. 401K contributions and other items are not considered in the calculation.

Vic December 13, 2015 9:31 pm    

Want to retire on the coast near Corpus Christi. Do you have those figures? The wife and I will have an income around 50k. Currently live north of Denver in a 250k home. Balance due should be around 130k when we retire.

Harsha December 08, 2015 8:43 pm    

Hi,can you give similar numbers for Greater Salt Lake City area?

michael brumfield December 05, 2015 12:53 pm    

Yea I see what the prices are and I'm on disability which brought my income down by $750.00 ever two weeks but I'm permanent disabled. What can I buy on a $1,900.00 dollar a Month income.nothing to put dwn.

Philip S. Moore October 25, 2016 1:24 am

Try the City of Tucson, Arizona, website for down payment assistance programs...of which the city has many.

Rebecca Johnson December 15, 2015 2:32 am

Check on government programs to provide no downpayment, low interest loans for those in special categories (typically first time buyers with limited income). I was by no means poor but I qualified for a 0 down payment loan in the NYC area. I actually didn't take ti because I wanted to make the down payment and my dad could lend me some money. But there are special programs out there.

Editorial Team December 16, 2015 5:02 pm

Rebecca, Thanks for letting our readers know these programs work and they can qualify for them. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Editorial Team December 10, 2015 7:33 pm

Michael, I don't have the rate data readily available, but the median price in SLC Utah is $254,000. That stands to reason that affordability in the SLC area will be close to that of the Baltimore area. Of course, taxes and insurance costs will vary, but that gives you a ballpark. Be sure to contact a local real estate agent to get an exact idea on the price of homes you are interested in. Thanks for your comment, Tim Manni, HSH.com

GZ December 03, 2015 6:32 am    

I'm curious as to how you calculated your monthly payments. I used a mortgage payment calculator for your Boston statistics, and for a 30-year, 4.03% fixed rate mortgage with 20% down (Leaving approximately $360,000 to pay off), I found the estimated monthly payment to be much lower at $1,724.93, more than $400 less than your estimate. Why is your's so high? What am I not factoring in?

Editorial Team December 04, 2015 8:25 pm

GZ, Thanks for writing in. What you are not factoring in is taxes and insurance. 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. We used the latest available data for statewide average homeowner insurance premium costs from the Insurance Information Institute. 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. Thanks for writing in with your important question. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Brad December 02, 2015 11:55 pm    

I would like buy house in Atlanta

Sk8er December 02, 2015 5:05 pm    

Haven't seen a home selling for $800K in San Francisco in many decades, so looked up the data. Current median home price is about twice that.

Editorial Team December 02, 2015 5:15 pm

Sk8er, We used the median home price as reported by the National Association of Realtors for the San Francisco metro area, not just the city itself. Thanks for commenting, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Christopher A December 01, 2015 11:12 pm    

Thanks for sharing and writing about the disparity in home purchasing power the country most working people doesn't know how their salary effects their buying power especially in cities like New York and California and not speaking of the taxes on state, county and local level can create a nightmare.

Eric November 24, 2015 9:47 pm    

I would really like to see the sqft one would get at these prices.

Editorial Team November 24, 2015 9:58 pm

Eric, Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately the data for square footage does not exist. These median-home prices (half sold for more, half sold for less) come from the National Association of Realtors. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Jill November 20, 2015 12:51 am    

At first glance, i assumed that San Jose "Silicon Valley" was included in the SF metro area. But, apparently I was mistaken because the OMB link provided by the editors shows a separate listing for that metro. Population must be too small to include? Based on other statistics I've seen, it tops SF prices by over $100k!!!

Roger November 11, 2015 5:33 pm    

What are you guys smoking? You will NEVER find a "median home" in Seattle for $385,300! You can't buy a dog house here anymore for $385K. Prices have surged 12% in the last year alone, and are predicted to rise another 7% next year.

Editorial Team November 11, 2015 8:20 pm

Roger, Thanks for the spirited comment. The home price you see is the median-home price (half sold for more, half sold for less) as reported by the National Association of Realtors during the second quarter of 2015 -- new data comes out later this week. It's also important to understand that the NAR's home price number is for the Seattle metro area, not simply the city of Seattle. Thanks for commenting, hope to hear from you after the 3Q15 version is out next week. -Tim Manni, HSH.com.

Kelly October 23, 2015 8:16 am    

Living in New York is expensive and no doubt why owning a home is costly in this place. I've been working for many years now and its been my dream to own a house. Right now were still living in an apartment and still working hard to have our own place one day.

Dean October 09, 2015 4:25 pm    

Thanks for the intriguing article. This is eye opening, "In the second quarter, home prices and mortgage rates increased in every metro area on our list."I had no idea that were increasing this much nation-wide. It is astonishing how expensive San Francisco is compared to the rest of the cities.I appreciate the time you put into this post!

Editorial Team October 09, 2015 8:49 pm

Dean, Thanks for the kind words, we appreciate it! -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Wally October 07, 2015 4:43 pm    

I'm curious which major city is the highest; could you run your algorithm on Honolulu? Today's median price is $730,000 in today's local paper. Does cost of living factor in your salary figure?

Editorial Team October 08, 2015 4:14 pm

Wally, I can ask our data analyst to run the figures for you. No, cost of living is not considered. As stated in the intro: This is the salary you need to earn in order to afford the base cost of owning a home -- the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. Thanks for writing in, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Britt September 14, 2015 5:36 pm    

How about the time it takes to save 20% down payment? How long do you have to work at these salaries to save the down payment, while you're renting no doubt. These salaries seem WAY low for the home value.

Editorial Team September 15, 2015 2:09 pm

Britt, You're absolutely right, it's quite difficult to save for a 20% DP. There's no way for us to say how long it would take someone at a given salary to save 20%. Again, you're right, the salaries will increase when you run the numbers for 10% down. We are considering changing the calculation to 10% down instead of 20% down. That might provide a more realistic calculation for most Americans. Thanks, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Jim September 22, 2015 5:52 am

I'm looking at buying a $320,000 house on a RD loan with no money down, 3.75% interest rate, and my total payment with PI, PMI, Taxes and Insurance will be just under $2200/month. I make 95,000/year, I have no debt and I'm not sure I can afford it? I think it's right on the cusp of affordability for me. Looking at New York, the mortgage with 20% down would be approximately 320,000 and you need to make $90,000. I'm curious how you come up with the annual salary to mortgage affordability. Does it factor in cost of living in those areas or is it just a general rule of thumb?

Editorial Team September 23, 2015 7:58 pm

Jim, Thanks so much for reaching out. Determining how much house you can afford could be the most important decision you make in the buying process. For starters, I would absolutely warn you against seeing a salary noted here in our slideshow and trying to compare that to your situation. Your specific financial situation is highly personal, whereas for this slideshow, we had to use benchmarks of data for given periods to speak to a larger audience ("median" home price in the second quarter, "average" interest rate in the second quarter, etc.). To learn more about how we came up with these figures, you can read the first and last slides of the slideshow. Now onto your individual situation: If you believe your monthly payment alone puts you on the "cusp of affordability," I can almost assure you that you CANNOT afford that loan amount. Why? You will encounter a myriad of additional costs besides your monthly payment the moment you become a homeowner. There are home repairs to make, furniture to buy, escrow accounts to fund, upgrades both inside and out, and oh yeah, bills! I encourage you to speak with a mortgage lender to get a better sense of the loan amount you can afford. But remember, when determining that number, lenders and brokers don't account for items like cable and cell phone bills. Best of luck, keep me posted and please don't hesitate to send me another question. Thanks, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Brian September 14, 2015 1:37 pm    

What is considered a metro area? How far out from the heart of said city do you take into consideration? I live in Falls Church, VA, only 20 minutes from DC and accessible via the DC metro (WMATA); just curious how much of the NOVA area was taken into consideration for WAshington D.C.'s numbers.

Editorial Team September 14, 2015 2:18 pm

Brian, Thanks for writing in. We use the metro area definitions supplied by the Office of Management and Budget (https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg_statpolicy). Each metro area is different in terms of size and scope. You said you were in Falls Church, Virginia. According to the OMB, here is your metro area definition: "Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division District of Columbia, DC; Calvert County, MD; Charles County, MD; Prince George's County, MD; Arlington County, VA; Clarke County, VA; Culpeper County, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Fauquier County, VA; Loudoun County, VA; Prince William County, VA; Rappahannock County, VA; Spotsylvania County, VA; Stafford County, VA; Warren County, VA; Alexandria city, VA; Fairfax city, VA; Falls Church city, VA; Fredericksburg city, VA; Manassas city, VA; Manassas Park city, VA; Jefferson County, WV." Hope this answers your question. I'm here if you have any more. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

John September 13, 2015 9:46 pm    

This doesn't seem right. There was just an article published about how Long Island Nassau and Suffolk county, is the most expensive place in the United States to live.

Editorial Team September 14, 2015 2:28 pm

John, Thanks for your inquiry. We also saw that Nassau and Suffolk counties were voted most expensive earlier this year (Feb. 2015). However, there are a few things here that separate our distinctions from the one you mentioned: 1. We examined metro areas and not counties. 2. The distinction of most expensive for Nassau and Suffolk factored in far more than just housing costs. It included all types of cost of living factors. We simply looked at real estate and interest rates. 3. Our 27 metros are compiled via populations. We took the 27 metro areas with the highest populations. While there is a Nassau and Suffolk metro area ("Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division Nassau County, Suffolk County"), that wasn't in the top-27 in terms of population. There is no doubt that portion of New York state is an expensive place to live. Thanks again for writing in, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Daniel September 12, 2015 7:59 pm    

MY $12,492.00 YEARLY INCOME GOT ME A $95k HOME IN MARTINSBURG WEST VIRGINIA . .thank you JesusI bought a home appraised for $95,000.00 which cost me $86,000.00 with $18,000.00 down and the sellers paid $4,000.00 closing cost and MY INCOME WAS $1,041.00 A MONTH veterans disability pension and i was supporting a child in Africa as my only debts. i am a Vietnam era veteran who always pays my bills. I lived out of my car for 17 months to be to save my down payment. My mortgage taxes and insurance are $453.00 a month plus trash and fire of $319.00 a yearIf i can do this anyone can ... I am not even allowed to rent rooms since my VA pension won't allow me to earn an income. I just grew enough veggies and canned 7 cases of them to last me all winter. Talk about being frugal and responsible HUMPH .. thank you Jesus for being my guide in my life PS: I am trying to save to get a hoop-house greenhouse so i can grow even more food and donate it to my local homeless mission as i was able to do with some of my veggies this summer. NOTE: If you want to help me help others get back to me at ifollowYahshua@aol.com

chuck lanham sr November 30, 2015 7:59 pm

Your statement is full of holes. VA comp has nothing to do with income unless you are 100% and deemed unemployable in which case the payment is much much higher. VA comp is also not taxable as income or subject to payroll tax so being a net number is far different from being a gross number. There are many "REAL" disabled vets that will read your story and know you are a "WANNABE".

Editorial Team September 14, 2015 2:33 pm

Daniel, Thanks for writing in and sharing your story. Continued success as a homeowner. -Tim Manni, HSH.com

Shay September 10, 2015 9:16 pm    

Thanks for the great work of putting this useful information together. Are you certain the monthly payment includes property taxes? I bought a $319,000 home in Houston. 5% down payment, 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.75%. My monthly payment is $2383.01 (P&I $1403.03, insurance $89, PMI $224.69, Tax $666.29). This seems much higher than monthly payments listed here. I am beginning to think I got a raw deal.

Editorial Team September 15, 2015 2:14 pm

Shay, No, you didn't get a raw deal, you only put 5% down so your monthly payment is going to be A LOT higher than our numbers since we are factoring 20% down. You bought a home at 3.75%. You may never see a lower rate in your time as a homeowner. Thanks for writing in, Tim Manni, HSH.com

Tommy September 14, 2015 4:47 pm

Shay, 5% is a lot higher than 4%, so yes, the deal you got is a lot worse than those listed here.

Editorial Team September 15, 2015 2:17 pm

Tommy, Shay's reference to 5% was her down payment percentage not her interest rate. Her interest rate, 3.75%, is incredible. Shay's monthly payment is higher than what we have listed: she put 5% down, we factored 20% down. We love the conversation, thanks for leaving a comment, Tim Manni, HSH.com

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