Across the country, the homeownership rate has sunk to a level not seen since the 1960s. For many, especially millennials and other age groups, too, the biggest obstacle to buying a home is a perceived lack of affordability. In 2013, Fannie Mae found that 58% of renters earning from $25,000 to $50,000 thought getting a mortgage would be “difficult.”
While home prices have increased in recent years, many metropolitan areas still have a supply of housing that’s affordable for most Americans. Current renters may be surprised to learn that homeownership is a goal within reach, even for those making $50,000, which is below the national median household income of about $59,000 for 25- to 44-year-olds, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Home affordability calculator
Using NerdWallet’s home affordability calculator, we examined 15 metropolitan areas across the U.S. where the suggested home price for a household making $50,000 is equal to or higher than the median home price.
Below, in alphabetical order, the list shows 15 metro areas where you could afford a home with a $50,000 income. Each metro area also includes the suggested home price and a picture of a local listing at Zillow.com.
Affordable home price: $242,185
Affordable home price: $233,846
Battle Creek, Michigan
Affordable home price: $299,787
Affordable home price: $270,019
Affordable home price: $266,558
Columbia, South Carolina
Affordable home price: $267,332
Affordable home price: $258,971
Elmira, New York
Affordable home price: $258,563
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Affordable home price: $266,924
Affordable home price: $274,318
Affordable home price: $275,629
Affordable home price: $294,027
Affordable home price: $246,935
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Affordable home price: $263,163
Affordable home price: $254,952
To determine the affordable home price for a household with an income of $50,000 a year, we used location-based data from NerdWallet’s home affordability calculator.
The home price assumes a buyer can make a 20% down payment. The calculations are based on preset expenditure values, which aren’t necessarily based on median figures.
Individuals looking to buy a home should adjust the calculator to their personal financial circumstances. Unemployment and crime risk were taken into account when selecting the metro areas.
Image of Texas via iStock.