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The most affordable US cities — And which are least affordable (Study results)

Most affordable US cities

The US housing market has certainly been challenging recently. However, some cities make homebuying easier than others, and so, of course, do some careers. Enterprising women can get themselves a home of their own by matching what they do to where they live — and they might find themselves moving to a welcoming new city in the process. A recent study by StorageCafe analyzed groups of 58 professions — those that have increased in numbers over the last decade — and discovered in which of the 100 largest US metropolitan areas they could afford to buy a home. Let’s look at the survey results in greater detail.

Study info

A metro or metropolitan area is affordable if somebody earning an average salary for their profession there needs less than five years to save a 20% down payment using 20% of earnings and can then make monthly mortgage payments using no more than 30% of earnings.

Women aspiring to be doctors or top managers can buy a home across the US, but California’s largest metros may be unaffordable even for them. At the other end of the spectrum, metros in an area where the Midwest meets the Northeast let many professionals buy an average home with only a few years needed to save up the down payment.

In the middle of the salary range, different metros prove to be more affordable than others depending on your line of work — healthcare professions are examples of this. If you can’t easily buy a home in your city, consider moving, and choose your new city well.

Priced out of your California, Boston, or Seattle housing market?

Places such as San Jose and San Francisco tend to pay very well. For instance, nurses earn averages of $158K and $153K in these cities, respectively, but average local property prices are so high they would need more than nine years to save up for the down payment. The Los Angeles and Oxnard metros are almost as unaffordable for homebuying nurses.

Pharmacy is another profession that is not going out of fashion. Pharmacists are paid $127K per year, on average, and there are only a few metros where they cannot save for a down payment within five years. However, if you live in Boston or Seattle, you’d be joining your colleagues in the large Californian metropolitan areas in not being able to easily buy a home.

Ophthalmologists and optometrists earn a combined average wage of $141K. Still, the Utah metros of Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem, along with Boise, Idaho, join the other less-affordable metros already mentioned. Dentists earn a cool average of around $168K nationwide and can save up a down payment on all the USA’s large metros within five years except in California’s San Francisco, San Jose, and Oxnard plus, in their case, San Diego as well.

Don’t ditch your career — Move and buy inland instead!

Health sector workers who don’t want to quit their vocations shouldn’t worry! Dedicated Californian nurses could move within the state, receiving an average of over $120K in the metros centered on Sacramento, Fresno, and Stockton, with Riverside and Bakersfield not far behind, and could save a down payment in less than five years.

The Connecticut metros of New Haven and Hartford offer nurses average salaries of around $90K and make homebuying affordable. Whereas New York-Newark-Jersey City doesn’t, and the same is true of Spokane compared to Seattle in Washington State.

People offering therapy of various types, with an overall average nationwide salary of around $86K, can save a down payment on an average home in less than two years in Toledo, Ohio, and Scranton, Pennsylvania — and McAllen, Texas, offers the best affordability of all. So, if you don’t want to give up your rewarding career enabling others, but you live in one of the large coastal cities and can’t afford to buy, consider a move.

Other metros appear on the radar for members of several professions who wish to buy a home and can move. For example, Wichita, Kansas — about as inland as you can get! — offers great homebuying affordability for professionals as diverse as interior designers, legal assistants, and dental hygienists.

Switch to computing and buy in Utah, Florida, Colorado, and the DMV

Cheers to more women entering the computing industry. You can join the industry later in life, and you don’t necessarily need a relevant degree — talent is all in this go-ahead industry!

Programmers make a cool average wage of around $100K nationwide and can comfortably buy homes in more than half the nation’s large metros. However, in the up-and-coming tech magnet that is Utah, you might have an easier ride house-buying as a systems analyst than as a regular programmer in Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield. The former earn somewhat more than the national average, while the latter earn less.

Web developers earn a lower nationwide average salary at $85K, but it can be an exciting job and a great way to get into the IT industry. Despite many metros’ housing markets being pricy for these workers, some offer very good salaries about home prices — Orlando, Florida, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Washington DC and Baltimore in the DMV all offer salaries over $100K. You’d need five years to save up a down payment.

Most professions can buy homes in midwest/northeast markets

Some metros repeatedly prove to be places where most professionals can buy a home. Those clustered in an area of the country where the Midwest meets the Northeast proved to be the most widely affordable.

Dietitians and nutritionists earn an average of around $67K nationwide. They can save up a down payment in less than three years in Ohio’s Toledo, Dayton, and Akron metros, Pennsylvania’s Scranton metropolitan area, and Syracuse in Upstate New York.

Veterinarians earn an average of around $114K a year, with places such as Rochester in Upstate New York and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, joining the other usually affordable metros in those states.

Hairdressers and barbers earn an annual average national salary of around $37K. To get some bricks and mortar of their own, they might like to know that Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton is the only US metro that lets them save for a down payment in less than five years.

Concluding words on the most affordable (and least) US cities

Homebuying across the US is challenging these days. Still, it is possible in many metros to dedicate a proportion of your salary to it.

If you need to buy a smaller home than you’d like, managing the limited space you now have is helped by renting a self-storage unit. While women in the highest-paid jobs may find it relatively easy to buy a house, many others will wonder how to get onto the homebuying ladder.

You could change your profession so you can buy where you live. Or, you could move to a city where your career is well paid compared to the local house prices — giving up your rental on the coast for real estate in a new city might not be the worst decision you’ll ever make!

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