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 3Q18Median Home Price% Change from 3Q18Monthly Payment (PITI)Salary Needed
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
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
Riverside/San Bernardino4.49%-0.41%$365,000+1.39%$1,781.70$76,358.72
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
St Louis4.49%-0.41%$170,900-1.84%$984.43$42,189.78
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
Leave a Comment

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