Mortgage stress statistics and research in the US | finder.com

Guide to Mortgage Stress

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What is Mortgage Stress?

Mortgage stress is generally when a homeowner’s mortgage repayment is more than 28% of their gross income. For example if you make the average income of these 100 cities of $50,723 per year, the amount of income paid towards monthly mortgage repayments if it was 28 percent of your income would be $1,183.50 on a $265,000 mortgage. Mortgage stress is present throughout the nation, but there are some major U.S. cities that have higher mortgage stress rates than others. Interest costs and the prices of homes are inflating, and salaries and wages are struggling to keep up. Forming good financial habits can help you keep a cool head when living in some of the more expensive cities throughout the United States.

Mortgage Stress Levels By Major City

When looking at major city mortgage stress levels, we took the top 100 most populated cities and their median home value, median household income and annual mortgage repayments. We then used those numbers to find the proportion of mortgage repayments to income, to work out each city’s mortgage stress level (check out the results in the chart at the bottom of the page).

Looking at this number, we have determined that 20 of the largest 100 American cities are in mortgage stress.

When it comes to mortgage levels, California clocks in at having the most cities with mortgage stress. In fact, half of the top 20 cities dealing with mortgage stress are in California.

San Francisco is at the top of the list with the average mortgage repayments taking up around 61.47% of the city’s median household income. Los Angeles trails after at 50.07%, Oakland in third (49.73%), New York in fourth (47.72%), and Honolulu in fifth (44.27%).

When looking at the list of the top 100 major cities, the average mortgage repayment in proportion to income is 20.9%

For these major U.S. cities, Detroit has the lowest proportion of income to repayments, registering at a mere average of 6.12%. The second and third low-stress cities are Ohio cities Toledo and Cleveland (7.26% and 8.50% respectively), with Memphis and Fort Wayne not far behind (8.63% and 9.31% respectively).

Especially in cities with higher mortgage stress rates, homeowners should try to be as diligent as possible in saving money. If you are struggling with mortgage stress, you can try cutting out expenses where you can, and avoid making unnecessary purchases. Set a budget, and stick to it. Most importantly, opt for a house that you can afford. You want your payments to be at most 28% of your gross income. If you get a house that is within your means, you will have an easier time repaying the mortgage within a reasonable time frame. Where you live, and what city you reside in can make a big financial difference.

Mortgage stress levels in top 100 American cities

Rank City Median home value Median household income Annual mortgage repayments* Repayments as proportion of income
1 San Francisco, CA $1,127,400 $78,378 $48,178 61.47%
2 Los Angeles, CA $582,100 $49,682 $24,875 50.07%
3 Oakland, CA $616,300 $52,962 $26,337 49.73%
4 New York, NY $588,900 $52,737 $25,166 47.72%
5 Honolulu, HI $627,200 $60,548 $26,803 44.27%
6 San Jose, CA $830,000 $83,787 $35,469 42.33%
7 Long Beach, CA $521,500 $52,944 $22,286 42.09%
8 Miami, FL $291,800 $30,858 $12,470 40.41%
9 Boston, MA $493,700 $54,485 $21,098 38.72%
10 Anaheim, CA $536,300 $59,707 $22,918 38.38%
11 Santa Ana, CA $465,700 $52,519 $19,901 37.89%
12 Houston, TX $403,500 $45,728 $17,243 37.71%
13 Fremont, CA $905,800 $103,591 $38,709 37.37%
14 Seattle, WA $585,400 $67,365 $25,017 37.14%
15 San Diego, CA $539,700 $65,753 $23,064 35.08%
16 Irvine, CA $769,000 $99,334 $32,862 33.08%
17 Washington, DC $516,300 $69,235 $22,064 31.87%
18 Portland, OR $378,600 $53,230 $16,179 30.39%
19 Chula Vista, CA $469,700 $66,110 $20,072 30.36%
20 Denver, CO $346,500 $51,800 $14,807 28.59%
21 Reno, NV $292,900 $46,489 $12,517 26.92%
22 Garland, TX $323,290 $51,997 $13,815 26.57%
23 Newark, NJ $210,600 $34,012 $9,000 26.46%
24 San Bernardino, CA $231,000 $38,774 $9,872 25.46%
25 Riverside, CA $331,900 $56,089 $14,183 25.29%
26 Scottsdale, AZ $414,900 $72,455 $17,730 24.47%
27 Jersey City, NJ $333,000 $58,907 $14,230 24.16%
28 Sacramento, CA $274,700 $50,013 $11,739 23.47%
29 Austin, TX $303,100 $55,216 $12,953 23.46%
30 Hialeah, FL $197,100 $37,262 $8,423 22.60%
31 San Antonio, TX $244,712 $46,317 $10,458 22.58%
32 Stockton, CA $232,900 $45,347 $9,953 21.95%
33 Aurora, CO $260,500 $52,275 $11,132 21.30%
34 Fresno, CA $194,500 $41,455 $8,312 20.05%
35 Fort Worth, TX $245,140 $52,492 $10,476 19.96%
36 New Orleans, LA $168,200 $36,964 $7,188 19.45%
37 Buffalo, NY $140,315 $31,668 $5,996 18.93%
38 Baton Rouge, LA $169,792 $38,790 $7,256 18.71%
39 Chicago, IL $208,300 $47,831 $8,902 18.61%
40 Nashville, TN $203,000 $46,758 $8,675 18.55%
41 Minneapolis, MN $217,500 $50,767 $9,295 18.31%
42 Colorado Springs, CO $231,400 $54,228 $9,889 18.24%
43 Mesa, AZ $205,200 $48,259 $8,769 18.17%
44 Glendale, AZ $194,800 $46,855 $8,325 17.77%
45 Atlanta, GA $191,300 $46,439 $8,175 17.60%
46 Phoenix, AZ $192,900 $46,881 $8,243 17.58%
47 Tucson, AZ $151,900 $37,149 $6,491 17.47%
48 Boise City, ID $198,400 $49,209 $8,478 17.23%
49 Henderson, NV $256,300 $63,830 $10,953 17.16%
50 Madison, WI $216,500 $53,933 $9,252 17.15%
51 Norfolk, VA $176,800 $44,150 $7,555 17.11%
52 Las Vegas, NV $198,300 $50,903 $8,474 16.65%
53 Corpus Christi, TX $189,625 $49,675 $8,103 16.31%
54 Raleigh, NC $206,800 $54,532 $8,837 16.21%
55 Louisville, KY $169,150 $44,806 $7,228 16.13%
56 Anchorage, AK $294,900 $78,121 $12,602 16.13%
57 Richmond, VA $155,400 $41,331 $6,641 16.07%
58 Bakersfield, CA $213,100 $56,842 $9,107 16.02%
59 Virginia Beach, VA $250,100 $67,001 $10,688 15.95%
60 Orlando, FL $155,000 $41,901 $6,624 15.81%
61 Tampa, FL $160,600 $43,740 $6,863 15.69%
62 Albuquerque, NM $170,900 $47,413 $7,303 15.40%
63 St. Paul, MN $173,100 $48,258 $7,397 15.33%
64 Durham, NC $174,800 $49,585 $7,470 15.06%
65 Plano, TX $297,600 $84,597 $12,718 15.03%
66 St. Petersburg, FL $158,900 $45,483 $6,790 14.93%
67 Indianapolis, IN $146,458 $42,076 $6,259 14.87%
68 Gilbert, AZ $282,700 $81,485 $12,081 14.83%
69 North Las Vegas, NV $183,000 $53,105 $7,820 14.73%
70 Chesapeake, VA $241,600 $70,176 $10,325 14.71%
71 Chandler, AZ $265,700 $77,328 $11,354 14.68%
72 Philadelphia, PA $126,300 $37,460 $5,397 14.41%
73 Dallas, TX $145,600 $43,359 $6,222 14.35%
74 Cincinnati, OH $111,700 $34,002 $4,773 14.04%
75 Lexington, KY $158,000 $48,667 $6,752 13.87%
76 Charlotte, NC $170,100 $53,274 $7,269 13.64%
77 Irving, TX $162,200 $50,942 $6,931 13.61%
78 St. Louis, MO $108,000 $34,800 $4,615 13.26%
79 Arlington, TX $163,300 $53,055 $6,978 13.15%
80 Lincoln, NE $151,900 $49,794 $6,491 13.04%
81 Laredo, TX $119,000 $39,408 $5,085 12.90%
82 Jacksonville, FL $139,000 $46,768 $5,940 12.70%
83 Greensboro, NC $122,800 $41,518 $5,248 12.64%
84 Omaha, NE $141,400 $48,751 $6,043 12.39%
85 Kansas City, KS $110,400 $38,073 $4,718 12.39%
86 Winston-Salem, NC $117,000 $40,480 $5,000 12.35%
87 Pittsburgh, PA $111,900 $40,009 $4,782 11.95%
88 Oklahoma City, OK $129,700 $46,996 $5,543 11.79%
89 Baltimore, MD $115,000 $41,819 $4,914 11.75%
90 Milwaukee, WI $96,100 $35,489 $4,107 11.57%
91 El Paso, TX $111,300 $42,037 $4,756 11.31%
92 Columbus, OH $117,900 $44,774 $5,038 11.25%
93 Lubbock, TX $115,900 $44,139 $4,953 11.22%
94 Tulsa, OK $107,300 $41,957 $4,585 10.93%
95 Wichita, KS $112,600 $45,907 $4,812 10.48%
96 Fort Wayne, IN $95,800 $43,994 $4,094 9.31%
97 Memphis, TN $74,900 $37,099 $3,201 8.63%
98 Cleveland, OH $52,100 $26,179 $2,226 8.50%
99 Toledo, OH $56,900 $33,485 $2,432 7.26%
100 Detroit, MI $37,400 $26,095 $1,598 6.12%
source: finder.com, zillow.com, census.gov, freddiemac.com, top 100 cities based on population *based on a 30-year mortgage repaid at average 30-year fixed rate of 3.43%
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