How much salary you need to buy a home in the D.C. area

February 20, 2014

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

You need to make more than $63,000 a year to afford to buy a median-price home in the D.C. metro region, according to a study by HSH.com, a Riverdale, N.J.-based mortgage information Web site.

Looking at data from the fourth quarter of 2013, HSH.com determined that the Washington area had the sixth highest salary level needed for purchasing a median-price home among the 25 biggest markets. The company calculated the after-tax income required to cover the mortgage’s principal and interest payment. It did not factor in other expenses associated with owning a home, such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.

San Francisco topped the list. In the Bay area, you need to make $115,510 to afford to buy a median-priced home there. San Diego ($81,570) was the second-most expensive, followed by Los Angeles ($72,127), New York City ($66,167) and Boston ($63,673).

The median price for a home in the D.C. region in the fourth quarter was $380,000. According to the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey for the D.C. metro region, the median non-family household income was $62,000. The median family household income was $114,000.

HSH.com used data for median home prices from the National Association of Realtors and the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the fourth quarter. The firm assumed a 20 percent down payment. HSH.com notes that your income will need to be much higher to cover the additional expenses of owning a home. It noted that depending on where you live these other costs could add up to as much as the mortgage payment itself or more.

Find the study here.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.
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