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Can you afford to live in 25 biggest U.S. cities?


There’s an American city where housing prices and interest rates have combined to qualify consumers making just $20,000 in salary to purchase a home, according to a new report from HSH.com.

There’s also a city where those same qualification formulas demand a salary of more than $115,000 to make home payments.

HSH.com, the nation’s largest publisher of mortgage and consumer-loan information, has released a list of the biggest 25 metropolitan areas across the nation, based on how much income is required to make payments on a home.

The organization does not make or broker mortgages, so calls itself “an objective, independent source of information about consumer loans.”

According to its report this week, the easiest place to buy is Cleveland, where the interest rate is 4.43 percent and the home price is $112,800. That means a monthly payment would be $453.49 – and a salary of $19,435.17 is needed to qualify.

The organization said it did not include taxes or insurance in the calculations, addressing only mortgage principal and interest.

At the other end of the scale was San Francisco, which has an interest rate of 4.28 percent and a home price of $682,410, demanding a monthly payment of $2,695.23, supported by a salary of $115,510.06 – before taxes and insurance.

The report was compiled by Tim Manni, managing editor of HSH.com. He looked at mortgage rates and median home prices in 25 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas to determine how much salary you need to earn to cover the principal and interest payments on the average home.

The 25 metropolitan areas, ranked in order of the salary needed in those areas to afford a median-priced home:

  1. Cleveland: $19,435.17
  2. Cincinnati: $22,226.95
  3. St. Louis: $22,397.54
  4. Atlanta: $24,390.94
  5. Tampa: $24,650.88
  6. Orlando: $28,298.47
  7. San Antonio: $29,305.47
  8. Dallas: $29,751.24
  9. Houston: $31,298.99
  10. Chicago: $32,388.90
  11. Phoenix: $32,811.94
  12. Minneapolis: $33,800.09
  13. Philadelphia: $36,836.47
  14. Baltimore: $41,155.40
  15. Sacramento: $42,832.20
  16. Miami: $43,918.66
  17. Portland, Ore.: $45,872.78
  18. Denver: $48,122.72
  19. Seattle: $59,129.86
  20. Washington, D.C.: $62,809.63
  21. Boston: $63,673.13
  22. New York City: $66,167.27
  23. Los Angeles: $72,126.90
  24. San Diego: $81,570.40
  25. San Francisco: $115,510.06

The full report has been posted on the organization’s website.

The second- and third-most expensive locations also were on the West Coast, with San Diego requiring a salary of $81,570.40 for its median price $476,790 home, and Los Angeles requiring a salary of $72,126.90 for a median price $423,900 home.

New York and Washington weren’t far behind, with a Big Apple requirement of a salary of $66,167.27 to support a monthly payment of $1,543.90. Boston required a salary of $63,673.13 to support a payment of $1,485.71, and Washington’s payment was $1,465.56, requiring a salary of $62,809.63.

Close to the middle was Philadelphia, with an interest rate of 4.41 percent, a home price of $214,300, a monthly payment of $859.52 and a salary requirement of $36,836.47.

Cincinnati was the second-most affordable, requiring a salary of $22,226.95, followed by St. Louis, at $22,397.54.