Can You Afford a House? Depends On Where You Live

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance


The Balance

That's how much more of your income could be required for home ownership depending on where you live in the U.S., a new analysis by The Balance shows.

The housing market lately is all about rising prices and declining affordability, but digging into regional data shows how much harder it is for typical families to afford home ownership in some places than in others

Among the 15 largest metro areas of the U.S., the difference is stark: A household making the median income in Los Angeles must pay 50.1% of that income to afford a typical home in that city—the biggest share, while a household in Detroit only has to pay 21.8%—the smallest share. In seven of the top 15 markets, typical home ownership costs exceed 30% of household income, the benchmark the government uses to determine whether a home is “affordable,” and leaves families with enough money left over for other necessities.

The Balance’s analysis takes into account home prices, mortgage interest, property taxes, maintenance and improvements, homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance (usually required when buyers pay less than a 20% down payment). The data is meant to give a comprehensive picture of the monthly cost of home ownership, which averages $1,480 nationwide.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. HUD. “Defining Housing Affordability.”

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