You Need to Make a Fortune to Afford an Average Home in These 16 American States
Owning a home is supposed to be a big part of the quintessential American Dream. Depending on where you want to live, however, it might be time to give up the dream. Buying a house is just one part of what makes a certain location and expensive place to live, but it’s a big part. And you’ll need a huge salary to afford an average home in these American states.
HowMuch crunched the numbers and came up with a definitive list based on putting 10% down and choosing a 30-year mortgage. You can probably guess a few of the states we’re about to visit, but there are a few (especially Nos. 10 and 9 on the list) that are downright surprising.
15. Florida (TIE)
Salary needed: $70,360
Average home price: $288,000
As if there weren’t enough reasons to hate Florida, now there’s this. Although you won’t have to pay state income tax, you need a salary over $70,000 to be able to afford an average home and not spend more than 30% of your take-home pay on housing.
Next: You have to see it to believe it.
15. Idaho (TIE)
Salary needed: $70,360
Average home price: $287,990
Believe it or not, you need the same salary to afford an average home in northern, mountainous Idaho as in southern, sunny Florida. You might consider it a surprise, but because the demand for houses is much higher than the supply, home prices keep going up in Idaho, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Next: The entire state is getting more expensive.
Salary needed: $71,960
Average home price: $294,900
Northeastern Virginia’s proximity to Washington, D.C., makes it a desirable and expensive place to live, but that’s not the only reason the state shows up here. Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, Fredricksburg, and Poquoson are well outside of Washington, but they are some of the most expensive cities in the state.
Next: Let’s walk on over to our next stop.
Salary needed: $72,200
Average home price: $295,900
Maryland has a surprising number of millionaires who can afford huge house payments, but that’s not the only reason why you need to make so much money to afford an average home. The demand is high, supply is low, and it’s incredibly difficult to build new homes in the state.
Next: The entire state is getting hammered.
Salary needed: $73,120
Average home price: $299,900
Las Vegas suburb Henderson is a city growing so quickly that housing supply can’t keep up. That means home prices are rising, and you need to make more money to afford an average home, but the Las Vegas area isn’t the only place in Nevada getting hammered. Things are out of control in Reno, too.
Next: So many reasons not to buy a house.
Salary needed: $75,280
Average home price: $309,000
You need to make more than $75,000 to afford an average home in the Nutmeg State. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary is $46,708 (based on weekly income figures), but that’s not the only reason not to buy a home. You’ll get hammered by property taxes while people who rent save about $912 per month
Next: We’re a little surprised seeing this state.
Salary needed: $75,520
Average home price: $310,000
Housing prices in Montana are growing at the third-fastest rate in the country, according to the Missoulian, which is why you need to make so much money to afford an average home. There aren’t enough housing options to satisfy a growing workforce, so the prices keep rising.
Next: Is this another surprise on the list.
Salary needed: $83,720
Average home price: $344,990
Seeing Utah make this list might be a little surprising, but there are reasons it shows up. Income is growing slower than home prices, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, and nearly 65% of the land in Utah is federally controlled, so building tons of new houses isn’t easy.
Next: Are you sensing a theme?
Salary needed: $87,040
Average home price: $359,000
If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ve probably sensed a theme so far. High demand and low supply send home prices skyrocketing, and that’s what’s happening in Washington. The Amazon effect in Seattle is real, but the rest of state is dealing with the same issue.
Next: Tech workers, college grads drive up the salary needed to afford a house.
Salary needed: $87,160
Average home price: $359,500
Fueled in part by Portland’s growing tech sector and an influx of young college graduates, Oregon is getting expensive. There’s too much demand and too few houses, which eventually makes it harder to afford an average home.
Next: One state you probably expected to see.
6. New York
Salary needed: $91,720
Average home price: $379,000
If you live in some of the upstate cities, then you might believe the home prices in New York aren’t too outlandish. But if you want to live anywhere near New York City, you’re probably going to have to make a lot more than $91,720 to pay for your housing.
Next: We’re in six-figure salary territory now.
Salary needed: $100,200
Average home price: $415,000
Sure, Colorado has programs to help people find housing, and one town gives you land for nothing, but you need to make more than $100,000 to afford an average home there. Denver is one of the fastest-growing big cities in America, and three other cities in Colorado will totally bust your homebuying budget.
Next: A lot to like about this state, but not the housing market.
Salary needed: $101,320
Average home price: $419,900
Massachusetts is one of the most self-reliant states, its residents are pretty healthy state overall, and the state gives you a generous bonus for buying electric vehicles. Those are reasons to love the Bay State, but the housing market isn’t. We know Boston is expensive, but towns across the state are following suit, and you need to make more than $100,000 to afford an average home.
Next: Things are totally out of whack.
Salary needed: $120,120
Average home price: $499,900
California’s housing market is totally out of whack, so much so that high-paid tech workers can barely afford to live in Silicon Valley. The same thing goes for Disneyland workers in Anaheim. With the big cities driving prices up, you need to make well into six figures to afford an average home in the Golden State.
Next: How expensive is it?
2. Washington, D.C.
Salary needed: $138,440
Average home price: $549,000
Washington, D.C., is one of the priciest places in the country. How expensive is it? You’ll be flat broke if you try to make it on $50,000 a year. You need a $138,000 salary to afford an average home in the district, but if you already have a place, it might be time to sell and reap the rewards.
Next: Beauty, but at what price? Oh, then never mind.
Salary needed: $153,520
Average home price: $610,000
If you want to live in and enjoy the weather in America’s version of a tropical paradise, you’re going to have to pay for it. It takes more than $150,000 to afford an average home in Hawaii. Whether or not that home is a good investment is another story.
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