4 Southern Cities Where a $60K Salary Can Buy a Home
When most people think of the American Dream it usually involves a loving family, a good job, and a home with a car in the garage. However, when you’re in the middle class it can be hard to make ends meet, let alone buy a house. Luckily, according to Realtor.com, there are at least a few Southern cities where you can buy a home on a middle-class salary and start down the path to the American dream.
If you’re wondering where you’re in the middle class or not, check out the income calculator at the Pew Research Center. While there’s no universally agreed upon definition of the middle class, the median household income in the U.S. was $60,336 in 2017. Most people think the middle class earns a little more or a little less than that. Depending on where they live and how many people are in their household, middle-class Americans could anywhere from $40,425 to $120,672, according to Pew's definition.
While just over half of the country (52%) live in middle-class households, it actually comprises the majority of Americans, since the rest of households are divided between lower-income households (29%) and upper-income households (19%). That means there are a lot of people looking to own a home on a middle-class paycheck.
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The home-buying experts at Realtor.com, calculated that homeowners should spend no more than 28% of annual income on housing. Working from a middle-class salary of $60,000 that means annual housing costs of no more than $16,800. After putting 5% down on a 30-year mortgage with a 5% fixed-interest rate and a few more house-buying fees, they determined that a family earning $60,000 a year could comfortably buy a home priced up to $257,400, max.
For those lucky enough to live in the South, there are several cities where the dream of homeownership can be had on a middle-class budget.
First up: Birmingham, AL where the median list price for homes is $219,200, 55.7% of them are affordable according to Realtor.com. Not only is Birmingham one of our favorite Southern cities, filled with parks, museums, incredible restaurants, and the Dr. Pepper Museum, but a three-bedroom home can be purchased for just $75,000. The home experts at Realtor.com say bargains are particularly easy to find among homes build in the 1950s when there was a housing boom in the city.
Another option for would-be homebuyers is Memphis, TN, where the median list price for homes is $214,000, with 53.5% of the listings considered affordable. If you’ve visited the city recently, you probably went to the Midtown area, which has become the center of the city’s art scene and where many homes can be purchased for under $100,000.
Then there is Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which has experienced a population growing steadily over the last eight years. Good schools and sprawling neighborhoods are set to be part of this city's draw.
Finally, St. Louis, Missouri is full of historic homes and charming bungalows that middle class families can afford. The median list price of a home in St. Louis is $209,500, with 61.7% of the homes considered affordable homes: 61.7%. Head to the neighborhoods of Lafayette Square and Benton Park to find bargains (and, probably, barbecue).