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Top 10 U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges

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Top 10 U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges
4 min. read

When it comes to recurring expenses, housing is the biggest budget-breaker that Americans face. Despite generous salaries, comfortably affording housing is still a hurdle in some U.S. markets.

According to a new report from LendingTree, working in a metro area’s highest-paying industry makes it easier to afford a home in its median price range. However, there are some real estate markets where even a large salary doesn’t easily cover housing costs.

For example, San Jose and San Francisco are two metros where workers pay more than $200 per month than they should on housing – thus struggling to afford median-priced homes. These Silicon Valley metros are the only areas where estimated housing costs surpass affordability standards – but other cities are coming close. In eight other metros, the highest-earning workers are left with about $800 after paying housing costs, presuming they own a median-priced home.

The report analyzed income figures from 2017; it’s important to note that the incomes were median salaries of individuals and may not represent the total household income. Of course, more than one person contributing to the monthly payment would ease the burden of affordability. Additionally, the analysis calculated the monthly payment assuming a 20% down payment and a mortgage with a 4.25% interest rate. Affordable housing expenses are considered to be no more than 28% of a person’s annual gross income.

Below are the top 10 metro areas where workers in high-paying industries – usually legal, architecture and engineering, computers and mathematics – are faced with a discrepancy between what they can afford and what they actually pay for housing.

10. Providence, RI

  • Highest-earning industries: Architecture and Engineering
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $76,003
  • Median home price: $257,300
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,773
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,013
  • Left to spare: $761
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Providence RI

Image: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

9. Portland, OR

  • Highest-earning industry: Legal
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $83,118
  • Median home price: $312,500
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,939
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,230
  • Left to spare: $710
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Portland OR

Image: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

8. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Highest-earning industry: Legal
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $72,268
  • Median home price: $255,100
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,686
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,004
  • Left to spare: $682
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Salt Lake City UT

Image: photo.ua / Shutterstock.com

7. Miami, FL

  • Highest-earning industries: Supervision and Law-Enforcement
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $68,838
  • Median home price: $236,500
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,606
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $931
  • Left to spare: $675
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Miami FL

Image: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

6. Denver, CO

  • Highest-earning industry: Computer and Math
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $81,747
  • Median home price: $317,100
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,907
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,248
  • Left to spare: $659
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Denver CO

Image: Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com

5. Boston, MA

  • Highest-earning industry: Computer and Math
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $91,015
  • Median home price: $393,500
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,124
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,549
  • Left to spare: $575
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - Boston MA

Image: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

4. Los Angeles, CA

  • Highest-earning industry: Legal
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $97,707
  • Median home price: $537,000
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,280
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,113
  • Left to spare: $166
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - LA CA

Image: TierneyMJ / Shutterstock.com

3. San Diego, CA

  • Highest-earning industries: Architecture and Engineering
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $86,596
  • Median home price: $484,900
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,021
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $1,908
  • Left to spare: $112
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - San Diego CA

Image: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2. San Francisco, CA

  • Highest-earning industry: Legal
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $112,168
  • Median home price: $716,500
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,617
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,820
  • Left to cover: $203
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - San Francisco CA

Image: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

1. San Jose, CA

  • Highest-earning industry: Computer and Math
  • Median annual income for highest-paid workers: $123,052
  • Median home price: $815,000
  • Affordable monthly payment for a median-priced home: $2,871
  • Actual monthly payment for a median-priced home: $3,207
  • Left to cover: $336
U.S. Metros Where Even High-Earners Face Housing Challenges - San Jose CA

Image: Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com

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