The housing market is complex and fast-moving. One day a city has a ton of affordable homes, the next day it’s time to sell because home values are surging so high. Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether it’s worth even going to work, especially in the U.S. cities where a house makes more than minimum wage.
Of course, houses aren’t filling out applications and getting jobs, but they earn a lot more than minimum wage in terms of equity. Zillow crunched the numbers to find the 15 cities where the Zillow Home Value Index increases each hour are way more than the minimum wage. Owning a home is a great way to make money in these cities where your house earns more than you do. Starting on page 10, houses in each city added value greater than the U.S. median wage, and the top three cities all have one thing in common.
Before we jump in, here’s a little perspective: The average home adds $7.09 of equity each hour, which is 16 cents less than the federal minimum wage.
15. Nashville, Tenn.
- Population: 660,388
- Minimum wage: $7.25
- ZHVI increase each hour: $13.51
Nashville seems to have it all these days: Low taxes, great places to live nearby, and homes quickly adding value. If you own a house in the city, it earned $13.51 in equity each hour, close to double the minimum wage.
Next: The smallest city on our list has home values growing like crazy.
14. Anaheim, Calif.
- Population: 351,043
- Minimum wage: $11.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $14.47
Anaheim pays a healthy minimum wage, but houses there earn more per hour in equity at nearly $14.50 an hour. With a $559,100 median sale price, Anaheim is great for sellers but tough for Disneyland employees and minimum wage workers to afford.
Next: This city’s not as glamorous as its in-state counterparts, but home values are still high.
13. Sacramento, Calif.
- Population: 495,234
- Minimum wage: $11.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $15.62
California’s capital city isn’t as glamorous as its southern counterparts, but it’s still a place where a house makes more than minimum wage. People in Sacramento working 2,087 hours a year at $11 an hour makes $22,957 a year before taxes. Meanwhile, their houses add $32,598 of equity.
Next: Home value increases reflect this city’s recent growth.
- Population: 693,060
- Minimum wage: $10.20
- ZHVI increase each hour: $15.91
Denver added close to 100,000 people in the eight years after the 2010 census, putting a premium on housing. That’s why it’s one of the cities where a house makes more than minimum wage. A Mile High City house adds close to $16 each hour in equity, which is significantly more than the minimum wage.
Next: The whole state has a hot housing market, but one city leads the way.
11. Las Vegas
- Population: 632,912
- Minimum wage:$8.25
- ZHVI increase each hour: $16.87
At least separating couples in one of America’s divorce capitals have the option of sharing the proceeds from selling their home. A Las Vegas house makes more than minimum wage in equity each hour of the workday. In fact, Nevada is great for home investing: It’s one of the states where home prices are surging.
Next: Your house has a solid income in this East Coast city.
- Population: 673,184
- Minimum wage:$11.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $16.91
One of America’s most innovative cities is also a place where a house makes more than minimum wage. A person working 40 hours a week at minimum wage makes $22,957 each year while a house in the city adds close to $35,300 of equity.
Next: Let’s head out west again.
- Population: 988,650
- Minimum wage: $10.10
- ZHVI increase each hour: $17.44
Honolulu is one of the most expensive places to live and buy a house. But a home in Hawaii’s capital city is a great investment since a house makes about 70% more than minimum wage there. However, you run the risk of not being able to sell your house in one of America’s least affordable housing markets.
Next: Explosive growth in home prices in a region we’ve already visited.
8. Long Beach, Calif.
- Population: 470,130
- Minimum wage: $11.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $18.64
Long Beach and nearby Anaheim both make this list, which indicates the area south of Los Angeles is a desirable place to live. If it wasn’t, home values wouldn’t be increasing so rapidly. A house in Long Beach adds well more than $18 in equity each hour of the working day. That’s impressive, but we’re going to see huge home value jumps the rest of the way.
Next: Homelessness is a problem in our next city, but adding home equity isn’t.
7. Los Angeles
- Population: 3.97 million
- Minimum wage: $12.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $26.35
It’s sad to say, but this city with a huge homeless population is also one of the cities where a house makes more than minimum wage. Los Angeles’ pays one of the best minimum wages in the country, but it can’t come close to the equity a house earns each hour. It’s close to the national median wage. From here on out, however, houses earn more than most American workers.
Next: Not for the budget-conscious homebuyer
6. San Diego
- Population: 1.40 million
- Minimum wage: $11.50
- ZHVI increase each hour: $30.86
San Diego is one of the worst cities for home buying on a budget. If you already have a home, though, you’re getting a great return on your investment. During your eight-hour workday, your house is adding equity at close to three times the minimum wage.
Next: Heading north in the Golden State.
5. Oakland, Calif.
- Population: 420,005
- Minimum wage:$13.23
- ZHVI increase each hour: $38.57
The East Bay city near San Francisco isn’t as ritzy, but it’s still one of the places where a house makes more than minimum wage. Zillow estimates a $689,700 median selling price for a home in Oakland, which is $80,000 more than the listing price. With those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see why a home earns nearly three times the minimum wage.
Next: A big city where your house gets you a big return on your investment.
4. New York
- Population: 8.53 million
- Minimum wage: $13.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $42.17
If you’re moving to New York City, a $500,000 house won’t look like much. That kind of makes sense in one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States, but if you can afford it you should get a great return on your investment. Homes in the Big Apple appreciate at a rate more than three times the city’s minimum wage.
Next: A giant company drives giant home value gains.
- Population: 704,352
- Minimum wage: $15.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $54.24
Seattle’s Amazon-fueled growth has home values exploding so quickly that even CEO Jeff Bezos might not be able to afford to live there. Just kidding. He’s a filthy rich billionaire and can afford to live anywhere. Owning a home in Seattle is a great return on the investment. Each hour of the workday, a house there adds equity at about 3.5 times the minimum wage.
Next: The tech industry fuels crazy home values in this city.
2. San Francisco
- Population: 870,887
- Minimum wage: $14.00
- ZHVI increase each hour: $60.13
San Francisco is perennially one of the most expensive places to live, and even though California’s big tax refunds are nice they’re not going to help your bottom line too much. There’s such a high demand for real estate in this tech industry hotspot that home values are increasing at a crazy pace. If you live and work in San Francisco, your house makes more than minimum wage.
Next: The city where a house makes more than $200,000 a year.
1. San Jose, Calif.
- Population: 1.02 million
- Minimum wage: $13.50
- ZHVI increase each hour: $99.81
How out of control is San Jose’s housing market? It’s so expensive that even well-paid Facebook and Apple employees can barely afford it. A house in the city adds nearly $100 in equity each hour of the workday. Over the course of a year, it adds up to $208,303. Meanwhile, the median wage in the U.S. is about $59,000 a year.
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