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.

A couple with kids  holding hands standing in front of a house

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

RankCity, stateHome valueNon-housing expendituresNon-mortgage debtAverage interest rateMonthly mortgage repaymentsRequired salary% change for required salary2017 salaryPrevious rank
1San Francisco, CA$1,334,800.00$41,827.00$16,230.004.13%$5,178.39$221,930.8436.25%$162,8871
2San Jose, CA$1,080,300.00$41,827.00$15,220.004.13%$4,191.05$179,616.3350.36%$119,4552
3Seattle, WA$767,000.00$42,922.00$17,939.004.14%$2,979.16$127,678.3163.36%$78,1607
4Los Angeles, CA$674,600.00$41,827.00$14,407.004.13%$2,617.13$112,162.5334.64%$83,3044
5San Diego, CA$625,500.00$41,827.00$16,284.004.13%$2,426.64$103,998.9134.32%$77,4298
6Washington, DC$566,600.00$56,843.00$18,700.004.46%$2,285.94$102,974.3123.51%$83,3743
7New York, NY$660,000.00$46,906.00$16,255.003.41%$2,344.51$100,478.9825.12%$80,3075
8Boston, MA$585,100.00$51,981.00$18,491.004.05%$2,248.20$97,450.3923.11%$79,1556
9Worcester, MA$229,500.00$51,981.00$17,714.004.05%$881.84$80,277.0222.12%$65,7359
10Denver, CO$418,300.00$42,648.00$18,045.004.10%$1,616.98$80,096.7022.67%$65,29710
11Portland, OR$429,400.00$39,742.00$16,069.004.13%$1,665.87$75,801.4026.75%$59,80213
12Riverside, CA$393,300.00$41,827.00$14,849.004.13%$1,525.82$74,985.7929.40%$57,95016
13Colorado Springs, CO$274,000.00$42,648.00$18,584.004.10%$1,059.17$73,942.0521.95%$60,63411
14Albany, NY$181,300.00$46,906.00$18,676.003.41%$644.03$73,310.3620.95%$60,61212
15New Haven, CT$162,300.00$48,497.00$17,011.004.05%$623.62$72,991.4922.42%$59,62315
16Springfield, MA$128,000.00$51,981.00$14,596.004.05%$491.83$72,478.9621.36%$59,72014
17Sacramento, CA$313,700.00$41,827.00$15,880.004.13%$1,217.01$72,311.0727.60%$56,66920
18Hartford, CT$126,300.00$48,497.00$17,314.004.05%$485.30$71,634.5723.62%$57,94917
19Virginia Beach, VA$258,100.00$41,632.00$17,331.004.02%$988.15$70,820.7923.14%$57,51118
20Madison, WI$247,500.00$42,922.00$15,348.004.14%$961.33$69,805.9930.05%$53,67532
21Chicago, IL$225,900.00$41,772.00$16,483.004.02%$864.87$68,633.4421.20%$56,63022
22Stockton, CA$284,400.00$41,827.00$13,508.004.13%$1,103.34$68,575.0330.26%$52,64436
23Syracuse, NY$82,200.00$46,906.00$17,865.003.41%$292.00$68,274.9820.28%$56,76319
24Richmond, VA$207,400.00$41,632.00$17,088.004.02%$794.04$68,248.5027.22%$53,64633
25Providence, RI$198,400.00$42,454.00$16,425.004.08%$765.09$68,060.1123.37%$55,16727
26Spokane, WA$191,300.00$42,922.00$16,045.004.14%$743.04$67,883.5124.79%$54,39829
27Rochester, NY$75,100.00$46,906.00$17,611.003.41%$266.78$67,718.3220.76%$56,07624
28Baltimore, MD$113,900.00$44,748.00$17,663.004.04%$437.12$67,656.5024.42%$54,37630
29Pittsburgh, PA$139,400.00$40,886.00$19,822.004.02%$533.70$67,112.4018.50%$56,63421
30Bakersfield, CA$232,400.00$41,827.00$13,680.004.13%$901.60$66,326.2127.37%$52,07240
31Philadelphia, PA$146,700.00$40,886.00$18,688.004.02%$561.65$66,313.7818.22%$56,09523
32Charleston, SC$306,200.00$33,266.00$18,434.004.05%$1,176.55$65,818.5818.51%$55,53725
33Orlando, FL$228,000.00$38,644.00$16,464.004.18%$889.84$65,786.0725.35%$52,48338
34Fresno, CA$229,700.00$41,827.00$12,899.004.13%$891.13$65,419.5129.55%$50,49948
35Tampa, FL$209,200.00$38,644.00$16,596.004.18%$816.47$65,037.6022.95%$52,89635
36Allentown, PA$123,500.00$40,886.00$18,341.004.02%$472.83$64,900.9117.97%$55,01428
37Jacksonville, FL$163,100.00$38,644.00$17,919.004.18%$636.55$64,201.5720.50%$53,27834
38Omaha, NE$164,000.00$38,970.00$17,138.003.94%$621.84$63,570.0717.69%$54,01631
39Harrisburg, PA$54,100.00$40,886.00$19,874.004.02%$207.12$63,245.5013.89%$55,53426
40Raleigh, NC$261,800.00$33,779.00$17,144.004.01%$1,001.11$62,936.2822.14%$51,52942
41Las Vegas, NV$255,600.00$36,177.00$14,692.004.18%$997.56$62,839.6825.48%$50,07853
42Phoenix, AZ$229,000.00$34,580.00$17,126.004.15%$890.54$62,392.5019.97%$52,00841
43Atlanta, GA$235,200.00$34,657.00$16,480.004.02%$900.48$61,942.7121.04%$51,17445
44Columbus, OH$144,000.00$37,449.00$17,768.004.02%$551.31$61,832.7417.91%$52,44239
45Nashville, TN$252,800.00$34,219.00$15,882.004.06%$972.53$61,771.4021.05%$51,02946
46Grand Rapids, MI$145,600.00$39,332.00$15,109.004.13%$564.86$61,219.3022.07%22.07%52
47Lakeland, FL$152,700.00$38,644.00$15,397.004.18%$595.96$61,192.5021.36%$50,42149
48Scranton, PA$66,400.00$40,886.00$16,942.004.02%$254.22$60,878.5915.94%$52,50737
49Charlotte, NC$211,700.00$33,779.00$17,163.004.01%$809.53$60,656.3320.87%$50,18251
50Dallas, TX$186,600.00$36,537.00$15,495.004.01%$713.55$60,594.5621.21%$49,99155
51Cincinnati, OH$131,500.00$37,449.00$16,902.004.02%$503.45$60,392.4617.68%$51,32143
52Kansas City, MO$136,200.00$37,526.00$16,211.004.00%$520.19$59,979.3019.91%$50,02154
53Houston, TX$176,100.00$36,537.00$15,332.004.01%$673.40$59,949.7420.88%$49,59356
54Des Moines, IA$132,200.00$37,005.00$16,906.003.85%$495.81$59,860.7416.89%$51,21044
55Jackson, MS$139,900.00$37,526.00$15,759.004.00%$534.32$59,696.8839.10%$42,91678
56Ogden, UT$188,500.00$35,114.00$15,351.004.09%$727.79$59,198.4627.11%$46,57370
57Milwaukee, WI$112,000.00$38,788.00$14,688.003.89%$422.10$58,541.2220.67%$48,51361
58Akron, OH$62,900.00$37,449.00$18,018.004.02%$240.82$58,356.7915.81%$50,38850
59Toledo, OH$67,000.00$37,449.00$17,330.004.02%$256.51$57,857.1616.91%$49,49057
60Columbia, SC$127,900.00$33,266.00$18,661.004.05%$491.45$57,824.3414.36%$50,56447
61Tucson, AZ$180,200.00$34,580.00$14,547.004.15%$700.77$57,536.2020.23%$47,85662
62Cleveland, OH$50,400.00$37,449.00$17,246.004.02%$192.96$57,010.5115.92%15.92%58
63El Paso, TX$122,600.00$36,537.00$14,631.004.01%$468.81$56,793.7718.69%$47,85263
64Wichita, KS$120,400.00$35,984.00$15,121.003.93%$455.97$56,576.6116.01%$48,76760
65Detroit, MI$34,500.00$39,332.00$14,860.004.13%$133.84$55,798.1219.74%$46,59969
66Greenville, SC$176,800.00$33,266.00$14,321.004.05%$679.34$55,739.0818.54%$47,02068
67Youngstown, OH$39,900.00$37,449.00$16,246.004.02%$152.76$55,528.1117.13%$47,40665
68Knoxville, TN$158,000.00$34,219.00$13,978.004.06%$607.83$55,491.0021.51%$45,66774
69Augusta, GA$130,600.00$34,657.00$14,718.004.02%$500.01$55,375.1123.06%$44,99976
70Dayton, OH$45,600.00$37,449.00$15,667.004.02%$174.58$55,210.9816.07%$47,56864
71Chattanooga, TN$140,900.00$34,219.00$14,475.004.06%$542.05$55,198.5918.69%$46,50771
72McAllen, TX$128,600.00$36,537.00$12,455.004.01%$491.76$54,893.1019.77%$45,83372
73Oklahoma City, OK$125,700.00$32,978.00$16,124.004.02%$481.25$54,876.9912.34%$48,84759
74Little Rock, AR$138,900.00$31,117.00$17,333.003.95%$527.31$54,777.6716.32%$47,09167
75Greensboro, NC$133,400.00$33,779.00$14,570.004.01%$510.11$54,470.3618.86%$45,82773
76Tulsa, OK$118,700.00$32,978.00$15,468.004.02%$454.45$53,899.3913.99%$47,28466
77Memphis, TN$82,300.00$34,219.00$15,189.004.06%$316.61$53,207.3417.96%$45,10675
78Birmingham, AL$69,900.00$31,336.00$15,835.003.99%$266.65$50,370.7813.91%$44,22077

Data from previous years

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