First-Time Buyers Must Earn $120,000 to Afford the Average Home

The median home is unaffordable for the average American in 44 of the 50 largest U.S. metros and 46 of the 50 states.

ST. LOUIS, Miss., April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The median-priced home in the U.S. now costs a staggering $332,494, meaning prospective buyers need an annual income of at least $119,769 to afford it with a 10% down payment, according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate, a St. Louis-based real estate company.

That’s about $45,000 more than the typical household earns annually ($74,755). Even with a 20% down payment, home buyers would need to earn at least $98,202, still well above the typical salary.

The last year that the median buyer put down 20% was 1989, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Today, the median buyer puts down just 15% of a home’s purchase price.

The median U.S. income earner ($74,755) with 10% down could only afford a home that costs $207,529 — 38% less than the current median-priced home.

A median-income family aiming to afford a median-priced home would need a hefty 45% down payment, or mortgage rates would need to drop from the current rate of 7.2% to 4% to make it work.

Even with a savings rate of $1,000 each month, it would take a household five and a half years to amass the $66,500 needed for a 20% down payment on a home priced at the median of $332,494.

As it stands, 61% of Americans find themselves priced out of the market even with a 20% down payment.

The median home is affordable for median earners in just four states (West Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, and Indiana) and six of the 50 largest metro areas:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cleveland, OH
  3. St. Louis, MO
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. Birmingham, AL

Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles is the least affordable city, where buyers need an income of a whopping $249,471 to comfortably afford a median-priced home — nearly three times the actual median income of $87,743.

Read the full report at:

About Clever Real Estate
Clever Real Estate is a technology company that produces educational real estate content reaching over 10 million readers annually, and its nationwide agent matching service has a 5.0-star Trustpilot rating across 2,300+ customer reviews. Since launching in 2017, Clever has reached $8.5 billion in real estate sold, matched 100,000+ customers with realtors, and saved consumers over $160 million on commission fees. Clever’s network spans 19,000 agents across all 50 states.

Please contact Nicole Lehman at
with any questions or to arrange an interview.

Nicole Lehman
Clever Real Estate

SOURCE Clever Real Estate