Affordable housing: These cities take the smallest salaries to buy a house

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Off to OKC

Want to buy a house without breaking the bank? Then head to Oklahoma City. According to a new analysis, buying a home in OKC takes a smaller salary than any other metro in the nation.

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The smallest salaries to buy a house

For affordable housing, look no further than Oklahoma City, according to a new analysis from, it takes a salary of just $38,143 to buy a house in the city.  Home prices clock in at a median of $163,600, with an average monthly payment of only $890.

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Pittsburgh is the second-most affordable, requiring a salary of $38,216 to buy a house. Rounding out the top five are Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky. All three require less than $41,000 per year to buy a home.

Nationally, it takes an average of $59,288 to buy a house. That’s down more than $1,800 from last quarter and 3.19 percent from last year.

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Breaking the bank to buy a house

The cities that take the largest salaries to buy a house are mostly on the West Coast. It takes a salary of nearly $229,000 to buy a house. The median home price in the area is a whopping $1.2 million, with an average monthly payment of $5,343.

San Francisco requires the next highest salary at $182,486, while Los Angeles takes spot No. 3 at $142,079. San Diego and Boston round out the top five, requiring salaries of $120,000-plus.

Still, it’s not all bad news in the West — especially given last week’s House Price Index findings. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home prices in California and Nevada jumped just 0.8 percent in the third quarter of the year.

As Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at CoreLogic, explains, “While stubbornly low mortgage rates have put the kabash on the great housing market cooldown, the boom and bust patterns of home price growth in West appear to be now solidly on the bust side. Both San Francisco and Las Vegas — once emblems of the housing market gold rush ‚ have turned into ghost towns, relatively speaking, over the past year. While not great news from new homeowners, first-time buyers looking to get their foot in the door of homeownership might have something new to be thankful for this holiday season.”

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Looking to buy a home in one the nation’s more affordable cities? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

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