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.

Here's How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Part of the Country

Andy Woodruff
Andy Woodruff

Daylight saving time was created to benefit Americans, but not every part of the country is affected equally. Within the Eastern time zone, for instance, the sun rises a whole 40 minutes earlier in New York City than it does in Detroit. To illustrate how daylight saving time impacts sunrise and sunset times around the county, cartographer Andy Woodruff published a series of helpful maps on his website.

Below, the map on the left depicts how many days of reasonable sunrise time—defined as 7 a.m. or earlier—each part of the country is getting. The regions in the yellow sections have the most days with early sunrises and the darker parts have the fewest. On the right, the second map shows how many sunsets past 5 p.m. we’re getting each year, which appear to be a lot more abundant

Next, he visualized what these sunrise and sunset times would look like if daylight saving were abolished completely, something many people have been pushing for years. While our sunset times remain pretty much the same, the mornings start to look a lot sunnier for people all over the country, especially in places like West Texas.

And for those of you who were curious, here’s what America would look like if daylight saving time were in effect year-round. While mornings would look miserable pretty much everywhere, there’d at least be plenty of sunshine to enjoy once we got off work.

You can tinker with an interactive version of the daylight saving map on Woodruff’s blog.

All images courtesy of Andy Woodruff.

This article originally ran in 2015.

Here's How Much Money You Need to Retire Early in Each State

iStock.com/katso80
iStock.com/katso80

If you're complacent with your career, your goals might be limited to grabbing the last office doughnut. But if you have an eye on retirement, you might be wondering how much it's going to take to walk away from the desk forever.

Cost information website How Much has compiled estimates of the savings residents of each state might need in order to retire early at the ages of 35, 45, and 55. The site used figures from GoBankingRates that looked at the cost of living in the various regions and then estimated annual expenses based on age with an average 4 percent withdrawal rate annually.

If you wanted to retire at age 35 in Ohio, for example, having $1.61 million in your savings account would be ideal. In California, you’d need $2.37 million.

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire at age 35 in each state
howmuch

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire by age 45 in each state
howmuch

An infographic shows how much money is needed to retire by age 55 in each state
howmuch

The site cautions that this is an oversimplification of what should be some highly individualized financial planning. Everyone has different needs, and the numbers don't account for inflation or for adjusting the 4 percent annual withdrawal. In short, this is nothing you should pass along to your accountant. What these charts can do, however, is spark motivation to make your own plans for having a comfortable retirement. If you want to spend it in Hawaii, it might be best to start saving now.

[h/t Thrillist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER