There are 5 places in the US where you need to make over $110,000 to afford a home

It's hard to take out a mortgage in San Jose if you make less than $200,000.

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It’s hard to take out a mortgage in San Jose if you make less than $200,000.
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Rafael Ramirez Lee/Shutterstock

  • Four of the five most expensive housing markets in the country are in California.
  • In these markets, buyers need to make more than $110,000 to qualify for a mortgage with a 20% down payment.
  • In the San Jose metro area, buyers need to make over $210,000.

Several of the priciest housing markets in the country are in the American West.

In the third quarter of 2017, the median cost of a single-family home in the region rose to $373,700, up 7% from the previous year and a greater increase than any other region, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

By contrast, the current US median home price is $247,000.

As supply lags behind demand, and prices and mortgage rates continue to rise, homebuyers entering the market may find it increasingly unaffordable to buy a home.

Looking at NAR’s data on housing affordability, there are five US metro areas where the minimum salary required to qualify for a mortgage, with 20% down, is above $110,000. NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.9% for all areas, with the monthly principle and interest payment limited to 25% of income.

While the salary needed to buy in these areas is exceptional, purchasing a home in a number of markets across the country remains affordable, with required salaries at or below the median household income of $71,775 . The average qualifying income for the US as a whole is $46,435 .

Below, check out how much you need to earn to buy a home, and what the median home will cost you, in the most expensive markets.

The following markets are based on metropolitan statistical areas, with the exception of Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, which is a metropolitan division.


5. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Population: 3,299,521

Median sale price: $607,000

Salary needed to buy: $110,969


4. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

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Edmund Garman/Flickr

Population: 998,714

Median sale price: $760,200

Salary needed to buy: $138,977


3. Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California

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LagunaticPhoto/Shutterstock

Population: 3,169,776

Median sale price: $790,000

Salary needed to buy: $144,425


2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

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Benny Marty/Shutterstock

Population: 4,656,132

Median sale price: $900,000

Salary needed to buy: $164,534


1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

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Wikimedia Commons

Population: 1,976,836

Median sale price: $1,165,000

Salary needed to buy: $212,981