How much does it take to live comfortably in DC? DC residents must earn at least $85,000 annually to afford a median-priced, $502,600, home and live comfortably.

  • D.C.'s salary requirement is only outdone by major California markets.
  • D.C.'s average non-housing expenditures are the highest nationally.
  • Buyers only able to put down a 10 percent deposit will have to earn $13,500 more annually.

How much does it take to live comfortably in DC?

To afford a median priced home, which is reported at $502,600, and live comfortably in Washington, D.C., residents must earn at least $85,000 annually.

According to, this salary requirement assumes you’re able to put down a 20 percent deposit (roughly $100,000 for a median priced D.C. home), cover average per-person expenditures and pay off annual non-mortgage related household debt.

If an individual is able to put down a 10 percent deposit, rather than 20 percent, then this salary requirement is even higher and makes homeownership and living comfortably harder to obtain.

Of the 78 metros analyzed by the website, DC’s salary requirement of $85,517 ranked as the fourth highest, trailing only San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.

A major contributing factor in DC’s ranking is its average non-housing expenditure, which totals $45,366– the highest expenditure figure of any metro analyzed.

Unlike San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and Seattle, the salary required to get a mortgage for a median home in D.C. is not higher than the salary required to cover mortgage payments, average debt and average expenditures, according to

For those in Washington, D.C. making more than $85,000, with the ability to put down a 20 percent deposit, monthly repayments on a median priced home come out to $1,788– assuming a 30-year mortgage with an interest rate of 3.42 percent.

Income of more than $80,000 a threshold to ownership

A separate report from HSH states a D.C. resident would need to make nearly $82,000 in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home. This report assumed a median home price of $388,600 and a monthly mortgage payment of $1,910.

“If you’re putting 10 percent down instead of 20 percent, you’ll need to earn over $13,500 more per year to cover the larger loan amount and PMI,” HSH stated.

Either way, salary requirements for DC homeownership are likely to rise this year, as home prices jumped by 6 percent during a recent 11-month period, according to a FNC Residential Index.

Email Erik Pisor

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