How much you must earn to buy a home in these cities? | finder.com

How much you must earn to buy a home in 78 US cities

See how your salary stacks up against buying a home in one of these cities.

The stress of purchasing a new home coupled with the uncertainty of living expenses can make looking for housing an exhausting task. To avoid home-buying fatigue, buyers should check how far their salary can stretch before seriously considering signing on a home.

To assist prospective home buyers, finder.com calculated the salaries necessary to buy a home and live comfortably in 78 key cities across the US for 2018. For us, living soundly means more than just initially affording your dream home. We considered median state expenditures as well as changing rates on a 30-year mortgage.

Map of 78 US cities and required salaries

Key findings

While home values have increased over the past 12 months across the 78 cities we surveyed, average home loan interest rates have also slightly risen. Overall, the salary required to own a home and afford living expenses continues to increase in many cities.

  • San Francisco claimed the number one spot for highest required salary, with a prospective homeowner needing to make $221,931 a year to buy an average home costing $1,334,800. The required salary in San Francisco has actually increased 36% since September 2017, mostly due to an increase in the average mortgage interest rate from 2.95% in September to 4.13% in June.
  • San Jose remained in second place, with a salary of $179,616 required to purchase a home, increasing 50% since September.
  • Washington, DC moved down a rank to seventh place, with a salary of $102,974 required to purchase a home.
  • Seattle moved up to fourth place, with a prospective homeowner needing to make $127,678 a year.
  • San Diego jumps up a place to become the sixth most expensive city to live in and buy a home, with a required salary of $103,998.

Six of the top 10 cities — San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle and San Diego — require you to earn significant figures because of high home values. Aside from covering your living expenses, you need to earn above a certain threshold to even qualify for a mortgage.

Thirty-five cities became more expensive to live in since September, including New York City, Boston, Colorado Springs and Washington, DC, where the cost of living increased an average of 19%. Non-housing expenditures increased by more than $10,000 since September in these four cities.

The average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage in Washington, DC also rose from 2.46% to 4.46%.

The cheapest city analyzed was Birmingham, Alabama, where citizens can afford to buy a home and live on $50,371 a year. According to the US Census Bureau, the median wage in the US in 2016 was $57,230. Based on our research, this median wage would only allow you to live in 17 of the 78 cities we surveyed.

What does it mean to live comfortably?

Our finder.com analysis was based on:

  • Median house prices
  • Average 30-year interest rate based on a 20% deposit
  • Mortgage repayments including mortgage interest
  • Average non-mortgage debt in the city
  • Average non-housing expenditures in the state

Here’s the complete list of cities included in the study. Use the search below to find your city.

2018 rankings

Rank City, state Home value Non-housing expenditures Non-mortgage debt Average interest rate Monthly mortgage repayments Required salary % change for required salary 2017 salary Previous rank
1 San Francisco, CA $1,334,800.00 $41,827.00 $16,230.00 4.13% $5,178.39 $221,930.84 36.25% $162,887 1
2 San Jose, CA $1,080,300.00 $41,827.00 $15,220.00 4.13% $4,191.05 $179,616.33 50.36% $119,455 2
3 Seattle, WA $767,000.00 $42,922.00 $17,939.00 4.14% $2,979.16 $127,678.31 63.36% $78,160 7
4 Los Angeles, CA $674,600.00 $41,827.00 $14,407.00 4.13% $2,617.13 $112,162.53 34.64% $83,304 4
5 San Diego, CA $625,500.00 $41,827.00 $16,284.00 4.13% $2,426.64 $103,998.91 34.32% $77,429 8
6 Washington, DC $566,600.00 $56,843.00 $18,700.00 4.46% $2,285.94 $102,974.31 23.51% $83,374 3
7 New York, NY $660,000.00 $46,906.00 $16,255.00 3.41% $2,344.51 $100,478.98 25.12% $80,307 5
8 Boston, MA $585,100.00 $51,981.00 $18,491.00 4.05% $2,248.20 $97,450.39 23.11% $79,155 6
9 Worcester, MA $229,500.00 $51,981.00 $17,714.00 4.05% $881.84 $80,277.02 22.12% $65,735 9
10 Denver, CO $418,300.00 $42,648.00 $18,045.00 4.10% $1,616.98 $80,096.70 22.67% $65,297 10
11 Portland, OR $429,400.00 $39,742.00 $16,069.00 4.13% $1,665.87 $75,801.40 26.75% $59,802 13
12 Riverside, CA $393,300.00 $41,827.00 $14,849.00 4.13% $1,525.82 $74,985.79 29.40% $57,950 16
13 Colorado Springs, CO $274,000.00 $42,648.00 $18,584.00 4.10% $1,059.17 $73,942.05 21.95% $60,634 11
14 Albany, NY $181,300.00 $46,906.00 $18,676.00 3.41% $644.03 $73,310.36 20.95% $60,612 12
15 New Haven, CT $162,300.00 $48,497.00 $17,011.00 4.05% $623.62 $72,991.49 22.42% $59,623 15
16 Springfield, MA $128,000.00 $51,981.00 $14,596.00 4.05% $491.83 $72,478.96 21.36% $59,720 14
17 Sacramento, CA $313,700.00 $41,827.00 $15,880.00 4.13% $1,217.01 $72,311.07 27.60% $56,669 20
18 Hartford, CT $126,300.00 $48,497.00 $17,314.00 4.05% $485.30 $71,634.57 23.62% $57,949 17
19 Virginia Beach, VA $258,100.00 $41,632.00 $17,331.00 4.02% $988.15 $70,820.79 23.14% $57,511 18
20 Madison, WI $247,500.00 $42,922.00 $15,348.00 4.14% $961.33 $69,805.99 30.05% $53,675 32
21 Chicago, IL $225,900.00 $41,772.00 $16,483.00 4.02% $864.87 $68,633.44 21.20% $56,630 22
22 Stockton, CA $284,400.00 $41,827.00 $13,508.00 4.13% $1,103.34 $68,575.03 30.26% $52,644 36
23 Syracuse, NY $82,200.00 $46,906.00 $17,865.00 3.41% $292.00 $68,274.98 20.28% $56,763 19
24 Richmond, VA $207,400.00 $41,632.00 $17,088.00 4.02% $794.04 $68,248.50 27.22% $53,646 33
25 Providence, RI $198,400.00 $42,454.00 $16,425.00 4.08% $765.09 $68,060.11 23.37% $55,167 27
26 Spokane, WA $191,300.00 $42,922.00 $16,045.00 4.14% $743.04 $67,883.51 24.79% $54,398 29
27 Rochester, NY $75,100.00 $46,906.00 $17,611.00 3.41% $266.78 $67,718.32 20.76% $56,076 24
28 Baltimore, MD $113,900.00 $44,748.00 $17,663.00 4.04% $437.12 $67,656.50 24.42% $54,376 30
29 Pittsburgh, PA $139,400.00 $40,886.00 $19,822.00 4.02% $533.70 $67,112.40 18.50% $56,634 21
30 Bakersfield, CA $232,400.00 $41,827.00 $13,680.00 4.13% $901.60 $66,326.21 27.37% $52,072 40
31 Philadelphia, PA $146,700.00 $40,886.00 $18,688.00 4.02% $561.65 $66,313.78 18.22% $56,095 23
32 Charleston, SC $306,200.00 $33,266.00 $18,434.00 4.05% $1,176.55 $65,818.58 18.51% $55,537 25
33 Orlando, FL $228,000.00 $38,644.00 $16,464.00 4.18% $889.84 $65,786.07 25.35% $52,483 38
34 Fresno, CA $229,700.00 $41,827.00 $12,899.00 4.13% $891.13 $65,419.51 29.55% $50,499 48
35 Tampa, FL $209,200.00 $38,644.00 $16,596.00 4.18% $816.47 $65,037.60 22.95% $52,896 35
36 Allentown, PA $123,500.00 $40,886.00 $18,341.00 4.02% $472.83 $64,900.91 17.97% $55,014 28
37 Jacksonville, FL $163,100.00 $38,644.00 $17,919.00 4.18% $636.55 $64,201.57 20.50% $53,278 34
38 Omaha, NE $164,000.00 $38,970.00 $17,138.00 3.94% $621.84 $63,570.07 17.69% $54,016 31
39 Harrisburg, PA $54,100.00 $40,886.00 $19,874.00 4.02% $207.12 $63,245.50 13.89% $55,534 26
40 Raleigh, NC $261,800.00 $33,779.00 $17,144.00 4.01% $1,001.11 $62,936.28 22.14% $51,529 42
41 Las Vegas, NV $255,600.00 $36,177.00 $14,692.00 4.18% $997.56 $62,839.68 25.48% $50,078 53
42 Phoenix, AZ $229,000.00 $34,580.00 $17,126.00 4.15% $890.54 $62,392.50 19.97% $52,008 41
43 Atlanta, GA $235,200.00 $34,657.00 $16,480.00 4.02% $900.48 $61,942.71 21.04% $51,174 45
44 Columbus, OH $144,000.00 $37,449.00 $17,768.00 4.02% $551.31 $61,832.74 17.91% $52,442 39
45 Nashville, TN $252,800.00 $34,219.00 $15,882.00 4.06% $972.53 $61,771.40 21.05% $51,029 46
46 Grand Rapids, MI $145,600.00 $39,332.00 $15,109.00 4.13% $564.86 $61,219.30 22.07% 22.07% 52
47 Lakeland, FL $152,700.00 $38,644.00 $15,397.00 4.18% $595.96 $61,192.50 21.36% $50,421 49
48 Scranton, PA $66,400.00 $40,886.00 $16,942.00 4.02% $254.22 $60,878.59 15.94% $52,507 37
49 Charlotte, NC $211,700.00 $33,779.00 $17,163.00 4.01% $809.53 $60,656.33 20.87% $50,182 51
50 Dallas, TX $186,600.00 $36,537.00 $15,495.00 4.01% $713.55 $60,594.56 21.21% $49,991 55
51 Cincinnati, OH $131,500.00 $37,449.00 $16,902.00 4.02% $503.45 $60,392.46 17.68% $51,321 43
52 Kansas City, MO $136,200.00 $37,526.00 $16,211.00 4.00% $520.19 $59,979.30 19.91% $50,021 54
53 Houston, TX $176,100.00 $36,537.00 $15,332.00 4.01% $673.40 $59,949.74 20.88% $49,593 56
54 Des Moines, IA $132,200.00 $37,005.00 $16,906.00 3.85% $495.81 $59,860.74 16.89% $51,210 44
55 Jackson, MS $139,900.00 $37,526.00 $15,759.00 4.00% $534.32 $59,696.88 39.10% $42,916 78
56 Ogden, UT $188,500.00 $35,114.00 $15,351.00 4.09% $727.79 $59,198.46 27.11% $46,573 70
57 Milwaukee, WI $112,000.00 $38,788.00 $14,688.00 3.89% $422.10 $58,541.22 20.67% $48,513 61
58 Akron, OH $62,900.00 $37,449.00 $18,018.00 4.02% $240.82 $58,356.79 15.81% $50,388 50
59 Toledo, OH $67,000.00 $37,449.00 $17,330.00 4.02% $256.51 $57,857.16 16.91% $49,490 57
60 Columbia, SC $127,900.00 $33,266.00 $18,661.00 4.05% $491.45 $57,824.34 14.36% $50,564 47
61 Tucson, AZ $180,200.00 $34,580.00 $14,547.00 4.15% $700.77 $57,536.20 20.23% $47,856 62
62 Cleveland, OH $50,400.00 $37,449.00 $17,246.00 4.02% $192.96 $57,010.51 15.92% 15.92% 58
63 El Paso, TX $122,600.00 $36,537.00 $14,631.00 4.01% $468.81 $56,793.77 18.69% $47,852 63
64 Wichita, KS $120,400.00 $35,984.00 $15,121.00 3.93% $455.97 $56,576.61 16.01% $48,767 60
65 Detroit, MI $34,500.00 $39,332.00 $14,860.00 4.13% $133.84 $55,798.12 19.74% $46,599 69
66 Greenville, SC $176,800.00 $33,266.00 $14,321.00 4.05% $679.34 $55,739.08 18.54% $47,020 68
67 Youngstown, OH $39,900.00 $37,449.00 $16,246.00 4.02% $152.76 $55,528.11 17.13% $47,406 65
68 Knoxville, TN $158,000.00 $34,219.00 $13,978.00 4.06% $607.83 $55,491.00 21.51% $45,667 74
69 Augusta, GA $130,600.00 $34,657.00 $14,718.00 4.02% $500.01 $55,375.11 23.06% $44,999 76
70 Dayton, OH $45,600.00 $37,449.00 $15,667.00 4.02% $174.58 $55,210.98 16.07% $47,568 64
71 Chattanooga, TN $140,900.00 $34,219.00 $14,475.00 4.06% $542.05 $55,198.59 18.69% $46,507 71
72 McAllen, TX $128,600.00 $36,537.00 $12,455.00 4.01% $491.76 $54,893.10 19.77% $45,833 72
73 Oklahoma City, OK $125,700.00 $32,978.00 $16,124.00 4.02% $481.25 $54,876.99 12.34% $48,847 59
74 Little Rock, AR $138,900.00 $31,117.00 $17,333.00 3.95% $527.31 $54,777.67 16.32% $47,091 67
75 Greensboro, NC $133,400.00 $33,779.00 $14,570.00 4.01% $510.11 $54,470.36 18.86% $45,827 73
76 Tulsa, OK $118,700.00 $32,978.00 $15,468.00 4.02% $454.45 $53,899.39 13.99% $47,284 66
77 Memphis, TN $82,300.00 $34,219.00 $15,189.00 4.06% $316.61 $53,207.34 17.96% $45,106 75
78 Birmingham, AL $69,900.00 $31,336.00 $15,835.00 3.99% $266.65 $50,370.78 13.91% $44,220 77

Data from previous years

For media inquiries:

brunette girl with denim shirt
Jennifer McDermott

Consumer advocate helping people improve their personal finances.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site