The most affordable metropolitan area in the United States is in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area, which would require an annual salary of at least $37,659.86 in order to adequately afford the purchase of a median-priced home. Conversely, the least affordable metro in the country is in the San Jose, Calif. area, which requires an annual salary of at least $254,835.73 for the same reason. This is according to data compiled by mortgage resource HSH.com.
The full tabulation includes a total of 50 American metros separated into two lists of 25 each, covering the most and least affordable areas, respectively. The top 10 most affordable cities and their minimum salaries to afford a median-priced home (presuming a 20 percent down payment) according to HSH are:
- Pittsburgh, Pa. ($37,659.86)
- Cleveland, Ohio ($40,437.72)
- Oklahoma City, Okla. ($41,335.41)
- Memphis, Tenn. ($41,400.93)
- Indianapolis, Ind. ($42,288.92)
- Louisville, Ky. ($42,323.15)
- Cincinnati, Ohio ($43,429.97)
- St. Louis, Mo. ($44,215.56)
- Birmingham, Ala. ($44,593.35)
- Buffalo, N.Y. ($45,698.05)
The least affordable cities and their required minimum salaries to affordably purchase a median-priced home based on the data are:
- San Jose, Calif. ($254,835.73)
- San Francisco, Calif. ($198,978.01)
- San Diego, Calif. ($131,640.79)
- Los Angeles, Calif. ($123,156.01)
- Boston, Mass. ($106,789.93)
- New York, N.Y. ($105,684.33)
- Seattle, Wash. ($105,367.89)
- Washington, D.C. ($94,408.70)
- Denver, Colo. ($91,672.45)
- Portland, Ore. ($85,173.08)
“Covering the top 50 metropolitan areas, the report uses the latest quarterly home price data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), incorporating local property tax and homeowner’s insurance costs, and calculates the income needed to qualify for a median-priced home in each market,” HSH said in an accompanying statement announcing the data’s release.
The data also covers the prices reflected in the housing market in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the research emphasizing that the affordability of homes in metro areas continues to tighten. This is attributed by HSH to large annual increases in the prices of homes being coupled with the, “highest mortgage rates in seven years.” These factors together drive income requirements higher.
While HSH notes that home price gains appear to be cooling off on a general basis, home prices still saw an increase in 48 of the 50 metropolitan areas on an annual basis.
Find the full list of the 50 areas at HSH.