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Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 6, 2023 ·  2 min read

The Salary You Need to Be Paid in Every State to Afford an Average Home

Traditionally, the “American Dream” has been to get a job, get married, buy a house, and have a family. Unfortunately for millions of Americans, step three comes with a major roadblock: The cost of the average home across the United States.

This is the minimum salary you need to afford a home in every single state.

The Salary You Need to Afford the Average Home in America

It’s no secret that the price of the average home is continuing to rise across the country. Though this trend is happening in nearly every state, some are more expensive than others.

If you are looking to leave the rental market behind and finally purchase your own home, this is the approximate salary you will need for each state in the country.

Image Credit: How Much

The Most Expensive States

Other than Colorado, the most expensive average home price tags are on either coast. The top-tier states are:

  • Hawaii – $153,520
  • DC – $138,440
  • California – $120,120
  • Massachusetts – $101,320
  • Colorado – $100,200
  • New York – $92,720

Of course, the cost will vary depending on which city and where you are located. For example, the cost of the average home in New York City will be much higher on average than those upstate.

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The Least Expensive States

Ohio and West Virginia are the only two states whose salary required to afford the average home is below $40,000. From there, salaries required for the second-to-bottom tier are:

  • Michigan – $40,800
  • Arkansas – $41,040
  • Missouri – $42,200
  • Indiana – $42,560
  • Kansas – $43,160
  • Iowa – $44,360
  • Mississippi – $44,360
  • Kentucky – $44,360
  • Oklahoma – $45,320
  • Alabama – $47,960
  • Pennsylvania – $47,960

After those states, the average salary required to purchase a house is $50,000 or above.

The Problem

The average income in America, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is approximately $48,672. The bureau released this statistic prior to the coronavirus pandemic, during which millions of Americans have now lost their jobs and businesses. (1)

This salary means that the salary required to purchase an average home in 37 out of the 50 states is higher than the average income of American citizens. That makes 74% of the states unaffordable for many want-to-be home buyers.

The problem is of course even worse for the millions of Americans who live below the poverty line. For these citizens, owning a home is something they can only dream about. (2)

What do you think of the cost of an average home in your state? Would you be willing to move in order to purchase a house?

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  1. What Is the Average Income in the U.S.?” The Street. Steve Fiorillo. February 11, 2020.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau Reports Poverty Rate Down, But Millions Still Poo.” NPR. Pam Fessler. September 10, 2019.