June 25, 2024


There are only 14 U.S. states where residents who earn less than $75,000 can afford a median-priced home, a new Bankrate analysis reveals.

That number has dropped from 36 in just four years, illustrating how rising home prices have tilted the balance of homeownership toward the wealthiest Americans.

Considering that half of the country’s households earn a median of $74,580 or less, these 14 states are some of the few places where middle-income earners can afford a typical home.

To calculate homeownership costs in each U.S. state, Bankrate assumes a 20% down payment, no homeowner association (HOA) fees or mortgage insurance and a 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate of 7.05%. Monthly mortgage payments for each state are based on median sale price data from online broker Redfin.

Here’s a look at the 14 states where homes are most affordable, based on the annual income needed to cover homeownership costs without spending more than 28% on housing.

  1. Mississippi: $63,043
  2. Ohio: $64,071
  3. Arkansas: $64,714
  4. Indiana: $65,143
  5. Kentucky: $65,186
  6. Iowa: $65,314
  7. Oklahoma: $65,443
  8. Michigan: $66,343
  9. Missouri: $66,986
  10. Louisiana: $67,886
  11. Alabama: $69,514
  12. Kansas: $72,343
  13. North Dakota: $73,414
  14. West Virginia: $74,957

Median-priced homes in these states cost $300,000 or less, a significant discount compared with the U.S. median price of $402,343.

While these 14 states may have cheaper properties available, there are trade-offs to consider, like higher rates of poverty and fewer high-paying jobs compared with the rest of the country. Many of them are among the most rural in the United States, and incomes in rural areas tend to be lower than in large urban cities.

In contrast, you’d need to make $197,057 to afford a median-priced home worth $739,200 in California — the highest amongst all states.

The median income needed to afford a home in the U.S. overall is $110,871 — up from $76,191 in 2020. This is largely due to a longstanding shortage of homes that was exacerbated by supply chain constraints early in the pandemic. Since 2020, median home prices have risen by 27%, while mortgage rates have nearly doubled.

However, price gains were more dramatic in states where there has been long-running demand for homes, like California and New York. Home prices in rural or Rust Belt states like Mississippi or Michigan have not increased as much as others, making them relatively more affordable for middle-class earners.

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