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How Much Do You Need to Earn to Buy a Home in Your City?


One of the causes of the Great Recession was predatory lending practices that encouraged borrowers to buy more house than they could afford. No wonder, then, that in the rebuilding years of our economy, many are focused on figuring out how much they’d need to earn to responsibly buy a home in their city.

San Francisco 

(Photo Credit: Hakan Dahlstrom/Flickr)

A recent chart from offers some help. Their methodology takes into account the income necessary to cover the mortgage’s principal and interest, and considerations like taxes and insurance. They figured in a 20 percent down payment, and used NAR’s first-quarter data for median home prices, and their own first-quarter average interest rate.

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The results? Well, about what you’d think.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, San Francisco requires the highest salary for homeownership,” writes Kristin Wong at Lifehacker. “With a monthly mortgage payment of $3,199.69, HSH estimates you’d need to earn $137,129.55 to buy a home there. It was the only city that required a six-figure salary.”

San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston were the next highest salary requirements on their list, coming in at between $79,820 and $98,534 annually. The lowest salary required was in Cleveland, where less than $30,000 a year will allow you to buy a home.

See the full list below.

top cities 

(Chart Credit:, via Lifehacker.)

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Can you afford a home in your area? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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This is great information for people that want to ask for a cost of living adjustment to their salary. If you’re relocating, you can ask for a cost of living adjustment so that you can maintain your standard of living in the new city. If you want to know how to request an adjustment, you can check out my free ebook, “Get the Salary You Deserve: 31 Killer Salary Negotiation Letter Sample Templates.” You can find it here:

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