Buying a House in the U.S.? You'll Need This Salary

Sacha Strebe

As a traveler at heart, I've always rented properties and been very happy about it, but as I enter my mid-thirties I've been struck with the sudden urge to buy my own home. It could also have something to do with my son's yearning to get a family dog, which isn't going to happen in our small Los Angeles apartment. I already had a pretty realistic view of house prices in the U.S. before reading the report, but now my jump from renter to homeowner is looking even more distant. If I want to buy a home in Los Angeles I will need to have a median annual salary of $99,500 to buy a home worth $506,800, and I'm pretty sure homes in my area are twice as expensive. Scroll down to see how much you need to earn to buy a home in six major American cities. 

Miami, Florida

If you are interested in owning a home in this pretty city, then you'll need an annual salary of $64,112 with home prices averaging $290,000. Even though there hasn't been much growth, HSH reports the required salary in the Miami metro is up $822 thanks to higher mortgage rates. If you have a 10% deposit, you will need more than $74,000.

Portland, Oregon

If you earn $66,507 annually then you can buy a house in Portland for $319,300 with monthly payments around $1500. But HSH states that if you can't afford to pay down a 20% down payment then your affordability goes down. If you put 10% down, then the loan amount goes up to nearly $32,000 and you'll be hit with a monthly PMI (private mortgage insurance) cost of $105, which subsequently raises your required salary to $77,659.

Seattle, Washington

With an average home price of $386,300 you'll need a salary of $79,283 to buy a home in Seattle. But a Seattle-area resident told that “you can't buy a dog house [in Seattle] anymore for $385,000. Prices have surged 12 percent in the last year alone.” And if you put a 10% down payment it will up your required salary to $92,823.

New York City, New York

The Big Apple is high up on our wish list of places to live, but you'll need a minimum salary of $91,497 to buy a home worth $410,500. Monthly payments are around $2134. Thanks to a mild increase in mortgage rates, the required salary only increased by $747 and that only applies if you’re putting 20% down. For those putting 10% down, the salary jumps to $105,763.

Los Angeles, California

Despite needing a $99,527 salary to buy a home worth $506,800, L.A. isn't the most expensive metro area on the list. According to their report, the Los Angeles metro area had the highest salary jump at over $11,000, but you'll need another $19,491 if you only put a 10% down payment.

San Francisco, California

If you plan on moving to Silicon Valley, you'll need to get an awesome-paying job first. The minimum salary is $153,152 and average house prices are $809,400 with monthly payments of $3573. According to, if you can’t afford a 20% down payment (which is about $161,880) then a 10% down payment will mean you'll need a salary that pays $32,000 more per year. 

If you want to buy a home then you will need to start budgeting—shop our notepad below. 

Kate Spade Spiral Notepad ($18)

To read the complete list of 27 U.S. cities, visit

Are you in the market for buying your own home? Would you move to a city that has better housing prices? Share your thoughts below.

Add a Comment

More Stories