7 Cities Where You Need to Earn $150,000 to Afford a Home

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This is an unsettling moment for the national real estate market.

Prices are dropping. The median national home price last November was $370,700. That’s down from a peak of $413,800 in June last year, according to Bankrate.com.

Home sales are down, too. November marked the tenth straight month of shrinking sales for existing homes. Home sales in the U.S. fell 35% between November 2021 and November 2022.

You might imagine these trends would make it more affordable to buy a home. But, no.

Affordability — despite softening prices and sales — also is eroding. That’s because mortgage rates have risen so much that monthly mortgage payments are the biggest they’ve been in 15 years, according to CoreLogic.

The problem is clear in a new report by mortgage information company HSH. It used median home prices from the National Association of Realtors and mortgage data from Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America in addition to its own research to identify the salary needed in major U.S. metros.

Following are cities where you need to earn at least $150,000 per year to afford a typical home.

7. New York, New York

THONGCHAI.S / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $162,057.58

Median home price in this metro: $627,400

N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan after the new year to help reduce housing costs across the state by encouraging construction of 800,000 new units in the next decade. That would double the pace of home construction compared with the previous 10 years, Bloomberg reports.

In the Big Apple, Mayor Eric Adams is pushing for 500,000 new housing units to be built within the next 10 years, accelerated by changes to the zoning code.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $167,304.80

Median home price in this metro: $698,900

The average sale price for a home in Boston is falling, Axios reports. “But lower costs aren’t uniform across the area,” says Axios, citing data from Zillow.

5. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
evenfh / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $169,053.03

Median home price in this metro: $741,300

Home prices in Seattle are likely to fall or at least flatten this year, but home costs will nevertheless remain unaffordable for many home buyers, The Seattle Times writes.

“A 5% or 10% drop will not suddenly make the region affordable,” The Times says.

4. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles neighborhood in San Fernando Valley
trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $200,441.78

Median home price in this metro: $893,200

By 2022’s end, L.A. housing prices had fallen 4.2% versus a year before, according to real estate company Redfin’s analysis.

Currently, home listings are staying on the market for an average 56 days, compared with 42 days a year ago.

3. San Diego, California

Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $201,223.44

Median home price in this metro: $900,000

San Diego, with its 1.3 million residents and 17 miles of coastline, is just one of the 18 incorporated cities in San Diego County. The county has about 3 million residents in all.

2. San Francisco, California

San Francisco
Sean Xu / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $282,117.13

Median home price in this metro: $1,300,000

in California, the median listing price for a home in December 2022 was $699,000, according to Realtor.com. The site is published by the National Association of Realtors.

“Fewer than 1 in 10 listings was marked down this time last year, but now it’s almost 1 in every 4,” it says.

1. San Jose, California

San Jose California
Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com

Salary needed to afford the median-priced home in this metro: $359,126.57

Median home price in this metro: $1,688,000

San Jose has seen a dramatic fall-off in home prices: The average listing price for a home there peaked in April 2022 and since has fallen 15.5%, according to American Enterprise Institute’s Housing Center.

The average sale price in San Jose also peaked in April 2022 — at $1.73 million.

In December the AEI housing center declared an end to the housing boom. It was this nation’s longest, lasting 10.5 years.

Nationally, home prices peaked in June 2022 and by November had dropped 3.1% from that high.



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