Living the Good Life

How much salary do you need to live comfortably in Houston? You'd be surprised.

How much money do you need to make to live comfortably in Houston?

News, Shelby, On the Market, 5303 Floyd, June 2015
Living comfortably in Houston is relatively cheap compared to other cities. Courtesy of John Daugherty Realtors

At least we don't live in San Francisco. That's the biggest takeaway from a recent report from finance website Finder, which looked at 78 U.S. cities to determine what income level is required to live comfortably in that area. Houston and Dallas, not surprisingly, fared well thanks to low housing costs.

"Living comfortably" sounds subjective, but Finder focused on certain criteria: The ability to purchase an average home (presuming you've put down a 20 percent deposit), the ability to cover average per-person expenditures, and the ability to pay off annual non-mortgage related household debt.

To get these figures, Finder studied median home prices, average mortgage interest rates, non-mortgage debt in the city, and everyday expenditures.

Out of 78 cities, Houston ranks No. 51 (the lower the number, the better). To own an average home valued at $142,000, plus be able to pay for yearly non-mortgage expenses and debt, a Houstonian, according to the study, would need to earn a salary of at least $50,568. (You will have to make loads more to afford a place inside the Loop where you can hardly find a property under $300,000.)

Dallas ranks No. 54, requiring a salary of $50,326 to afford a $133,000 home and other essential expenses.

San Francisco takes the No. 1 spot with a medium home price of $1,119,500, necessitating a salary of $180,600. The Golden Gate City joins five others in the top 10 — San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, and Seattle — that require high salaries due to exorbitant home values.

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