Buying a house is a major decision and there is a laundry list of things you should know before buying your first house. The first thing you need to know is, can you afford it? If you’re looking for a home in these 15 cities, the answer for a lot of people is ‘yes.’ Home prices are rising across the country, but in some American cities, it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home.
The folks at HSH mortgage looked at data from the Office of Management and Budget and the National Association of Realtors to find the biggest metro areas where you can buy a home for less than $50,000. One city is also an affordable spot for retirees (page 7) and another shows up despite being more expensive than in the past (page 13).
15. Columbus, Ohio
Salary needed: $44,176
Median home price: $190,300
The capital and biggest city in Ohio is also one of the places where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. If you make a little more than $44,000 per year, you can buy a house without breaking the 28% rule (spending more than 28% of your salary on housing). Columbus is also one of the few major cities where a $500,000 house is more like a mansion than a matchbox.
Next: The first city from a state with two on the list.
14. Kansas City, Mo.
Salary needed: $43,756
Median home price: $193,800
Assuming 20% down and a 4.05% mortgage rate, all you need is $43,756 to afford a house with a median price in Kansas City. Your monthly payment with principal, interest, taxes, and insurance included is $1,021. To put it another way, you pay $12,252 per year.
Next: Sticking to your housing budget is easy in this river city.
13. New Orleans
Salary needed: $43,585
Median home price: $200,000
Buying a median-priced place in New Orleans won’t break your budget since it’s one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. If you make $43,585 and put 20% down on a home in the Crescent City, your monthly payment is $1,017.
Next: Millionaires aren’t pricing out everyday homebuyers in this big city.
Salary needed: $42,661
Median home price: $198,100
Despite having tons of mega-millionaires in the city, Atlanta is budget-friendly for the everyday Joe. In fact, if you make the salary listed above and buy a median-priced home, you’re paying a little less than $1,000 per month for your house.
Next: Even without assistance, it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home in this city.
Salary needed: $42,039
Median home price: $180,400
Detroit will pay you to live there if you work for a handful of companies. Even if you don’t qualify for that assistance, Detroit is still one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. You just need to make a little over $42,000 a year and buy a median-priced home, and your monthly mortgage payment is just $980.
Next: A drop in median home price makes this city as affordable as ever.
10. Buffalo, N.Y.
Salary needed: $40,879
Median home price: $146,200
Buffalo’s median home price slipped a bit from late 2017 to early 2018. What does that mean for you? It means it’s one of the places where your salary has a lot of power in the real estate market. A $40,879 salary buys a house where your monthly mortgage payment is a little more than $953. We’d say Buffalo qualifies as one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home.
Next: It’s not just for retirees
9. Birmingham, Ala.
Salary needed: $39,726
Median home price: $195,500
Alabama’s biggest city is great for retirees since their housing costs less than $1,000 per month. It turns out Birmingham is great for everyone else, too, since a salary under $40,000 is enough to buy a house in the metro area.
Next: Affordable housing is giving this city a different kind of reputation.
8. St. Louis
Salary needed: $39,347
Median home price: $166,700
If you know the St. Louis area only for its violence, such as the Ferguson riots in 2014, we’re here to tell you it’s also one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. A salary a little over $39,000 is all it takes to buy a house where the mortgage payment is just $918 per month.
Next: The affordable housing is just one thing to love about this city.
Salary needed: $38,149
Median home price: $158,900
The Queen City is one of the places where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. If you make $38,149 you can still afford a $159,000 house and your monthly mortgage payment is only a little more than $890 per month. Plus, if you like dining out, you’ll have easy access to Cincinnati’s underrated restaurant scene with several places you have to try.
Next: Kentucky has a horse in the race.
6. Louisville, Ky.
Salary needed: $37,519
Median home price: $172,300
Easy access to the horse racing spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby isn’t the only reason to live in Louisville. A $37,500 salary still gets you a median-priced home with an $875 mortgage payment each month.
Next: Bad news and good news
5. Memphis, Tenn.
Salary needed: $37,232
Median home price: $168,300
Memphis shows up as one of America’s low-income cities, and while it sounds like bad news it’s good news if you’re buying a house. It’s bucking the state trend of surging home prices and is one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. If you buy a median-priced house, your mortgage payment is less than $870 a month. Put it all together and you can afford a house with just a $37,232 salary.
Next: An ugly city that’s a beauty for homebuyers.
Salary needed: $36,593
Median home price: $172,400
You can make a case that Indianapolis is one of the ugliest cities in the United States, but people shopping for homes can see a certain beauty there. After all, a home of your own is within reach if you make $36,593 a year.
Next: It’s more expensive and still one of the most affordable cities in the country.
3. Oklahoma City
Salary needed: $36,460
Median home price: $152,900
Oklahoma City is a bit of a paradox. It’s one of the places where it’s gotten a lot more expensive to buy a house, yet it’s one of the cities where it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home. You need a salary of just $36,460 to buy a home of your own in town.
Next: Our last two cities are in one region of the country.
Salary needed: $35,656
Median home price: $140,400
Cleveland’s sports teams almost never win championships, but the city is a winner for homebuyers on a budget. Thanks to a median home price that is one of the lowest in the country you can buy a home where your mortgage payment is just $832 a month and all you need is a salary a little more than $35,600.
Next: Where your mortgage payment is nearly $500 less than the national average.
Salary needed: $33,509
Median home price: $135,000
We just visited Cleveland in northeast Ohio, and Pittsburgh is about 130 miles away in west-central Pennsylvania. The Steel City houses East Liberty and Lawrenceville, two of America’s coolest neighborhoods, and despite its growing reputation as a tech hub, it’s still relatively affordable to buy a home there. Someone making $33,500 a year can buy a median-priced house and end up with a $782 mortgage payment, which is nearly $500 less than the $1,273 national average.
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