• A Finder.com analysis of 78 metros looked for where housing is affordable in relation to income.
  • Houston came in at 51, and had an average income slightly above the national average.
  • Most of the cities the analysis were not affordable with the average U.S. income.

Buying a home isn’t such a struggle for the average Houston resident.

In a Finder.com review of housing and income data from a variety of sources, Houston comes out as a city with a good balance of an attainable income level to housing prices.

Most of the top 10 entries on the list required low six-figure salaries to afford the average home. The top-ranked city, San Francisco, was found to require a salary of $180,600 to buy an average home.

That’s because an “average” home in the Bay Area costs $1,119,500.

Houston comes in at a much more approachable set of figures.

The Bay Area is loaded with unicorn companies worth billions, which pay salaries the techies who work there are accustomed to. Houston, on the other hand, has a well-diversified economy. There are surely pockets of wealth, but homes are within reach of most wage-earners that call that metropolis home.

Houston came in at a comfortable 51 out of 78 cities that were rated. The average home value was pegged at $142,000. The analysis found that one could afford to buy a house in Houston with a salary that’s very much in reach for the middle class– $50,568.

They also included a factor which accounted for income sufficient to pay for other kinds of expenses, such as services and goods like healthcare. A non-mortgage debt factor also went into the rankings.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the average wage in 2013 was $52,250. That figure makes living in 36 of the 78 cities on the list within reach.

But that means that 42 cities are not affordable at the average income level.

Data in the analysis came from a variety of outside sources. In addition to the Census Bureau numbers, data were pulled from Zillow, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Urban Institute.

The Finder.com assumed that living comfortably means :

  • the ability to purchase an average home, with a 20 percent deposit
  • the ability to cover average per-person expenditure
  • the ability to pay off non-mortgage related household debt

The housing analysis was based on:

  • median house prices in each area
  • average 30-year 20 percent home deposit interest rate in the state
  • mortgage payments, including interest
  • average non-mortgage debt across the city
  • average non-housing expenditure across the state.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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