How Much You Need to Make to Afford a Home in Each State

Millennials are increasingly opting to pay rent over mortgages as housing prices creep up across the country. But the American dream of owning a home is more realistic in some places than it is in others. According to this data visualization from the cost information site How Much, where you choose to live can save you tens of thousands of dollars on housing payments a year.

How Much calculated the salary you need to afford the average home in each state by running data from Zillow into a mortgage calculator. They assumed that homeowners would pay interest of 4 to 5 percent depending on the state, make a down payment of 10 percent, and spend 30 percent of their annual income on their mortgage. Based on these numbers, they found West Virginia to be the most affordable state to live in: There you only need to make $38,320 to own the average $149,500 home. Behind it is Ohio with a salary requirement of $38,400 and Michigan with a salary of $40,800. All the states where the minimum salary to own a home falls below $50,000 are located in the South, North-Atlantic, and Midwestern U.S.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Hawaii occupies the top slot. To afford an average house there, which goes for $610,000, you need to bring home an annual income of at least $153,520. Washington D.C., where you need to make $138,440 or more, is the second most expensive location for homeowners, followed by California with a minimum salary of $120,120.

If the map above doesn't make you feel any more optimistic about owning a home, check out this map from 2017 of the earnings needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment in each state.

Want to Buy a House? This Is How Many Hours You Need to Work to Afford One in Your State

iStock.com/jhorrocks
iStock.com/jhorrocks

How much people need to work to afford what is perhaps the most iconic aspect of the American dream—their own house—varies drastically from city to city and state to state. Just as real estate values change with ZIP codes, so, too, do income levels. (Not to mention tax rates and the price of common goods.) To see how attainable owning a home in different cities across the U.S. really is, the cost information site HowMuch.net mapped how many hours someone earning the median income in the country’s biggest cities would need to work just to pay the average mortgage.

To crunch the numbers, the site used Census data to figure out the median hourly income for people in the 98 biggest cites in the U.S., based on the idea that everyone is working 40 hours a week. (Which isn’t very realistic, but still provides a rough estimate.) Then, HowMuch.net used data from Zillow on the median housing prices to calculate the median monthly mortgage price in each of those cities, estimating that people typically get a 30-year mortgage.

Here's the breakdown for the country's most expensive metros:

1. New York, New York: 113 hours
2. Los Angeles, California: 112 hours
3. Miami, Florida: 109 hours
4. San Francisco, California: 107 hours
5. Boston, Massachusetts: 95 hours
6. Oakland, California: 83 hours
7. Long Beach, California: 78 hours
8. San Diego, California: 77 hours
9. Santa Ana, California: 74 hours
10. San Jose, California: 74 hours

California is just as expensive as you thought it was, and that applies to more than just L.A. and Silicon Valley. Long Beach and Orange County's Santa Ana make the list, too, as does sunny San Diego. Those cities pale in comparison to Miami and Boston, though. Someone living in Santa Ana would be able to afford the median mortgage working a full 35 fewer hours than someone in Miami—basically a whole workweek. Of course, that seems much less affordable when you consider that someone in Memphis only has to work 18 hours to afford their mortgage, about a fifth of what someone in San Jose does.

Obviously, there are aspects of this data that don't entirely capture the reality on the ground. Many people work more than 40 hours a week. Interest rates can vary a lot based on credit score, when you took out your mortgage, and other factors. Many households have more than one source of income, and those incomes may not be equal, which change the figures quite a bit. Most importantly, this only reflects the cost of housing. While a mortgage payment is a huge chunk of most people's expenses, this graphic doesn't reflect the cost of other necessities like food, insurance, transportation, and all the other things we have to pay for to get by in any given month.

So, before you plan your move to Memphis, bear in mind that these are just rough estimates. That said, if you do want to move to Memphis, we wouldn't blame you.

America's Most Charitable States, Ranked

iStock.com/Steve Debenport
iStock.com/Steve Debenport

It may be the season of giving, but some people continue to spread cheer long after the holidays have ended. We’re looking at you, Minnesotans. As Thrillist reports, a new analysis by WalletHub ranks each state by its altruism, and Minnesota comes out on top, followed by Utah and New York.

Each state was awarded up to 100 points depending on how well it met 18 criteria in two main categories: volunteer efforts and charitable contributions. Doing a favor for a neighbor, donating money to non-profit organizations, or searching for “charitable donations” on Google were a few of the actions that landed certain states more points. Other factors taken into account were the number of public charities and Feeding America food banks per capita.

The results revealed that charitable giving doesn’t necessarily correspond with income. West Virginia’s residents, who have the lowest median household income of any state, are the 35th most charitable. Compare that with Hawaii, which has the third highest median household income but comes in at 46th on the list of charitable states.

Hover your cursor over the map below to see how your state ranks.

Source: WalletHub

No matter what state you live in, you should still give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve done a good deed recently. The U.S. is the fourth-most generous country in the world (after Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand), according to the World Giving Index [PDF].

Feeling inspired to give back? Use the Charity Navigator to research your options, and check our these six items you can donate, aside from cash.

[h/t Thrillist]

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