real talk

This is how much income you need to buy a home in Houston's top neighborhoods

The income you need to buy a home in Houston's top neighborhoods

News, Houston's Most Expensive Home Sales, Jan. 2015, 1821 River Oaks Blvd.
An income of at least $600,000 is required to buy in River Oaks.  Courtesy of Houston Association of Realtors

The old axiom in real estate was that it was about location, location, location. But in Houston’s hot economy, it might be much more about income, income, income. Just ask Houston Properties realtor Paige Martin, who has released data on her website detailing how much cash you need to bring home every year to afford some of Houston’s hottest neighborhoods.

“On average, the salary requirements to buy a new home increased 7.7 percent from last year,” she tells the Houston Chronicle.

So, let’s break it down. Want to live in River Oaks? You better be banking over $600,000. Is Afton Oaks is calling you? Only if you’re bringing in close to $375,000. And if you want the lovely, quest space of Memorial Park, you need close to half a million per year. Other spots where you need six figures to make it work: Montrose ($172,584), the Museum District ($171,286), and Braeswood Place ($234,686).

Houston Properties examined the annual income needed to purchase a home in 52 Houston neighborhoods, culling their list from several others, including the Best Houston Neighborhood Guide, Top Houston School Rankings, Most Accessible Neighborhoods, and Best Houston Suburbs, and based the income estimates on a 20 percent down payment.

Martin figures the increase in salary requirements needed to buy are based on a couple of factors. The first is that interest rates have increased; the other is that Houston’s neighborhood have appreciated in value this year. Despite all of that, though, Houston’s housing market hasn’t slowed down, and Martin’s findings say the market is on track for a record year.

The takeaway: sure, you can still buy a home in Houston. But be prepared to pay up big if you’re looking for Houston’s more popular enclaves. On the upside, condo-heavy Midtown and downtown can still be had for an income of less than $100,000 ($87,783 and $87,993) respectively. And there are homes to be found in Northside, where you need just over $70,000 to make it work, and further afield in places like Spring ($62,682), Jersey Village ($66,134), and Copperfield ($62,130).