How Much Money Do You Need To Make To Buy a House? This New Report Has the Numbers

Have you been toying around with the idea of buying a house? If yes, congratulations! You are significantly further along on your life path than I am. Buying a house is a huge undertaking — one that’s even bigger than hunting for an apartment, and we all know how crazy that can be — and given the current state of the economy, the real estate market, and the job market, there are rather a lot of balls in the air to juggle when you first set out on the “should I buy a house or not?” quest. Happily, though, we’ve now got some solid data on how much money you need to make to afford a house in 27 different cities across the country. Ready for this?

Mortgage website HSH used the National Association of Realtors’ first-quarter data for median home prices, as well as their own first-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed rate mortgages, to calculate how much of your salary the base cost of owning a home would eat up — principal, interest, taxes, and insurance — in 27 U.S. metro areas. They organized their results from lowest salary needed to highest — and surprisingly, the ones on the lower end of the spectrum are actually pretty affordable. The five most affordable cities for buying a house and the salary you’d need to do it are:

  1. Cleveland, OH – $29,788
  2. Pittsburgh, PA – $30,1777
  3. St. Louis, MO – $31,275
  4. Cincinnati, OH – $32,250
  5. Detroit, MI – $32,250

Maybe these places aren't the most glamorous destinations...but there's a lot to be said for getting good bang for your buck.

The five cities with the highest salary requirements for buying a house, by contrast, are not at all surprising:

  1. Boston, MA – $79,820
  2. Los Angeles, CA – $85,964
  3. New York, NY – $89,788
  4. San Diego, CA – $98,534
  5. San Francisco, CA – $137,129

Aaaaaand today is the day that I learned I will probably never, ever be able to afford to buy a house in San Francisco. At least a lot of us are in that proverbial boat together, right?

Then again, buying a house is absolutely nowhere on my radar right now; nor is it likely to be anytime in the near future. Once upon a time it used to be the case that by the time you were my age, you were married with two kids and settled in a house in the ‘burbs. Granted, I am in the ‘burbs right now, and I’m in a committed relationship — but buying a house just isn’t a priority. Neither my SO nor myself are planning on staying where we are now for eternity, and we’re not planning on having kids anytime soon (or possibly ever). Since we both feel that the main reasons for buying a house would be a) putting down roots for the long haul and/or b) raising a family… it just doesn’t make sense for us.

Maybe it does for you, though. If that’s the case, go forth! Arm yourself with all of the information you need by checking out the full list at HSH’s website! And happy hunting!