Here’s the salary you need to afford a home in 12 major cities


With mortgage rates near historic lows, there are a lot of first-time homebuyers looking for the right opportunity to make an offer on a new place to live.  

But in this competitive housing market, is your salary high enough to close the deal? 

Read more: 86% of renters can’t afford to buy a home: Here’s how you can prepare

Do you make enough to buy a home? Here’s how to tell… 

The mortgage website calculated the annual before-tax income needed to cover a mortgage, taxes and insurance in major U.S. metro areas — not just the cities. 

According to the site, the national average is more than $52,000!  

For these numbers, a 20% down payment was subtracted from the median-home price data, which came from the National Association of Realtors. And used the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage. 

Here’s a snapshot of the findings in 12 major metro areas across the country: 


  • Home price: $140,500
  • Monthly payment: $755.77
  • Salary: $32,390.09

St. Louis

  • Home price: $170,300
  • Monthly payment: $889.73
  • Salary: $38,131.22


  • Home price: $192,000
  • Monthly payment: $935.48
  • Salary: $40,092.12  


  • Home price: $199,900
  • Monthly payment: $1,047.08
  • Salary: $44,874.70


  • Home price: $223,000
  • Monthly payment: $1,152.25
  • Salary: $49,382.26


  • Home price: $217,400
  • Monthly payment: $1,219.74
  • Salary: $52,274.68


  • Home price: $265,800
  • Monthly payment: $1,326.20
  • Salary: $56,837.35


  • Home price: $310,000
  • Monthly payment: $1,519.48
  • Salary: $65,120.41

Washington, D.C.

  • Home price: $406,900
  • Monthly payment: $1,911.94
  • Salary: $81,940.22


  • Home price: $435,800
  • Monthly payment: $2,042.99
  • Salary: $87,556.61

San Diego

  • Home price: $589,900
  • Monthly payment: $2,553.62
  • Salary: $109,440.97

San Francisco

  • Home price: $885,600
  • Monthly payment: $3,778.78
  • Salary: $161,947.60

While these numbers can provide a rough guide, it’s so important to get pre-approved, not just pre-qualify, for a mortgage before you start the formal shopping process. Doing so will help you determine how much home you can afford, and a pre-approval will prevent you from reaching the point when you’re ready to buy and the loan doesn’t get approved. 

See more examples from below, and be sure to read Clark’s tips for first-time homebuyers

Read more: The ultimate money checklist to complete before buying a home


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