Can you buy a house if you make less than $100,000? Yes — in these 10 metro areas.

United States

Dreaming of buying a house in today’s challenging real-estate market? In this economy, you’ll need to make at least six figures — in most markets.

But there are still some parts of the U.S. where aspiring homeowners can comfortably afford to buy even if they make less than $ 100,000, according to a new report from

Based on’s April housing data, to afford the typical U.S. home listed at a median price of $ 430,000, a person needs annual income of $ 116,000.

That figure assumes that buyers are spending only 30% of their income on housing costs; making a 20% down payment on a home; taking on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage; and paying property taxes, as well as home-insurance premiums. 

The 30-year mortgage rate averaged 7.29% for the week ending April 26, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

But median household income was $ 74,850, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

For an aspiring homeowner who earns less than six figures annually, the best destinations are in the Midwest, according to is operated by News Corp subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch publisher Dow Jones is also a subsidiary of News Corp. 

Cheapest places to buy a house

Here are the top 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest income required for the purchase of a median-priced home: 

Metro area Annual income needed to buy median priced home  Median home price
Pittsburgh, Pa. $ 67,000 $ 250,000
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich. $ 69,000 $ 250,000
Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio $ 71,000 $ 255,000
Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. $ 75,000 $ 297,000
Buffalo-Cheektowaga, N.Y. $ 79,000 $ 285,000
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. $ 82,000 $ 294,000
Rochester, N.Y. $ 87,000 $ 295,000
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. $ 87,000 $ 340,000
Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind. $ 87,000 $ 327,000
New Orleans-Metairie, La. $ 90,000 $ 335,000

Known as an industrial hub in the past, Pittsburgh today is a city of about 300,000 that’s home to three pro sports teams — the NFL’s Steelers, the NHL’s Penguins, and Major League Baseball’s Pirates. It boasts multiple universities including Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a variety of cultural institutions including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, and the National Aviary.

But home prices are rising in Pittsburgh, so would-be home buyers may need to fact fast. The median home-sale price in Pittsburgh was up 5.3% in March, as compared with a year earlier, according to data from real-estate brokerage Redfin RDFN, +5.08%, outpacing the 4.8% increase in home prices nationally.

The city seems to be attracting attention from people who live in more expensive real-estate markets. New Yorkers showed the most interest in moving to Pittsburgh, based on user data, Redfin said, followed by people now living in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. 

Detroit, second on the list, and another prominent industrial city that has suffered depopulation, has been touted as a comeback story as its local government, alongside several businesses, seeks to revitalize its downtown area. The population was about 620,000 as of 2023; in the 1950s, it was three times that.

Further down the list, the affordable upstate New York city of Buffalo was also Zillow’s ZG, +2.25% pick for the hottest real-estate market of 2024, thanks in part to its relatively cheap homes and plentiful job prospects. About an hour and a half’s drive east, the Rochester suburb of Irondequoit was ranked as the top market for first-time home buyers by earlier this year.

Cleveland and Indianapolis also ranked among Zillow’s “hottest” markets for 2024, in addition to making’s list of metro areas where a less-than-six-figure annual salary can cover housing costs.

Most expensive places to buy real estate

At the other end of the spectrum, the most expensive housing markets all require more than double that $ 100,000 income to buy a median-priced house.

In major metro areas in California, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, the household income required to buy a typical house exceeds $ 250,000, said.

Here are the top five metro areas with the highest income required to buy a median-priced home: 

Metro area Annual income needed to buy median priced home  Median home price
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. $ 361,000 $ 1,467,000
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. $ 298,000 $ 1,192,000
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, Calif. $ 259,000 $ 1,050,000
San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, Calif. $ 256,000 $ 1,027,000
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. $ 226,000 $ 870,000

“In Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego, rising home prices and mortgage rates have combined to push required incomes higher — in some cases like in these California markets, up by double digits compared to one year ago,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at, said in a statement.

Read on: A $ 100,000 salary no longer buys you a middle-class lifestyle. Here’s why it costs so much more now.

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