By Ian Salisbury
August 3, 2018

Buying a home has long been part of the American dream. But with middle-class incomes stagnant and home prices rising, for many that goal can feel out of grasp.

The U.S. home ownership rate is now lower than it’s been in decades, and millennials are more likely to live at home than any generation in living memory. And yet there are still several places in the country where home ownership remains well within reach of the typical worker.

To see just where, we asked real estate consulting firm Veritas Urbis Economics to help us calculate the salary you’d need to earn to buy a home in each state, based on recent listing prices from Trulia.

We assumed the home buyer put 10% down and took out a 30-year fixed mortgage at a rate of 4.8% — close to today’s national average. We also factored in property taxes, using state-by-state data from the Tax Foundation, and assumed each prospective home buyer could afford to devote 30% of their salary to housing costs. (For simplicity’s sake, we didn’t factor in mortgage insurance or other ongoing costs.)

As you can see, affordability varies enormously depending on where you live. In Washington, D.C., where the median home costs nearly $620,000, you need to earn about $137,000 to afford a typical residence. The median income in D.C., however, is under $71,000 — a mismatch that inevitably creates a lot of frustrated home buyers.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky it’s a very different story. With the median home price just under $190,000, a typical worker needs to earn just over $43,000 to buy it. Since the state’s median income is above $45,000, Kentucky’s homes should be comfortably affordable.

Indeed, only 19 states have an actual median income that tops the amount needed to buy a home: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Read on to see a few sample listings, from around the country, that come close to the median price.

District of Columbia

Median home price: $620,000
Income needed to buy a home: $137,000
Actual median income: $71,000
Typical home for sale: 2208 Shepherd St. NE, with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths; asking $599,000

Bright MLS—courtesy of Trulia

Arizona

Median home price: $299,000
Income needed to buy a home: $67,000
Actual median income: $57,000
Typical home for sale: 2316 E Westcott Dr., Phoenix, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; asking $299,000

courtesy of Trulia

Colorado

Median home price: $425,000
Income needed to buy a home: $94,000
Actual median income: $71,000
Typical home for sale: 7151 W52nd Ave., Arvada, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; asking $410,000

Courtesy of Trulia

Kentucky

Median home price: $190,000
Income needed to buy a home: $43,000
Actual median income: $45,000
Typical home for sale: 133 Sheffield Way, Winchester, with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths; asking $189,900

courtesy of Trulia

Louisiana

Median home price: $220,000
Income needed to buy a home: $48,000
Actual median income: $42,000
Typical home for sale: 103 Bluebonnet Dr, Lafayette, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; asking $215,000

RAAMLS—courtesy of Trulia

South Carolina

Median home price: $259,000
Income needed to buy a home: $57,000
Actual median income: $54,000
Typical home for sale: 1801 Dolphin Row Dr., Beaufort, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; asking $259,000

courtesy of Trulia

Vermont

Median home price: $272,000
Income needed to buy a home: $69,000
Actual median income: $61,000
Typical home for sale: 602 North Ave. #32, Burlington, with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths; asking $270,000

courtesy of Trulia

Washington

Median home price: $400,000
Income needed to buy a home: $93,000
Actual median income: $70,000
Typical home for sale: 631 N. Steele St., Tacoma, with 4 bedrooms and 2.25 baths; asking $400,000

courtesy of Trulia

Wyoming

Median home price: $255,000
Income needed to buy a home: $56,000
Actual median income: $58,000
Typical home for sale: 80 Walnut Dr., Star Valley Ranch, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths; asking $240,000

Courtesy of Trulia

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