qualifying income us house-compressed (1)

Photo: Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr

If you’re hoping to buy a single family home in a major city in California, there’s a good chance your household income will need to be in the six figures.

Looking at the average sale price of existing single family homes in cities across the US, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found homebuyers in San Francisco, Anaheim and San Jose need a household income of more than $100,000 in order to qualify for a mortgage, some of the highest required income levels in the country. Homebuyers in San Diego putting 20 percent down would need an annual household income of $91,251, but a smaller deposit would push the qualifying income into the six figures.

Assuming a mortgage rate of 4.0 percent and a monthly principal and interest payment limited to 25 percent of income, NAR looked at 175 major metro areas. Nationally, it found the qualifying income for a five percent down payment was $45,863 in the fourth quarter. It was $43,449 for a 10 percent down payment and $38,621 for 20 percent.

Compare that to the priciest place on the map, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area of California: the qualifying income for 20 percent down on a single family home was $158,223, or roughly four times more than the national average.

In contrast, Rust Belt metros such as Youngstown-Warren-Boardman in Ohio-Pennsylvania and Rockford, Illinois had the lowest qualifying income rates on the list of 175.

Here’s an interactive map showing the disparities:


A breakdown of qualifying income, as of the fourth quarter, in the 10 priciest metros for single family homes:

Metro Area State 20% Down 10% Down 5% Down
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA $158,223 $178,001 $187,890
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA $137,478 $154,663 $163,256
Honolulu HI $129,780 $146,002 $154,114
Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine CA $127,411 $143,338 $151,301
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA $91,251 $102,658 $108,361
New York-Wayne-White Plains NY-NJ $84,293 $94,830 $100,098
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA $83,442 $93,872 $99,087
Boulder C0 $79,019 $88,896 $93,835
Nassau-Suffolk NY $76,206 $85,732 $90,495
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA $72,172 $81,193 $85,704

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