Top 5 Cities People Are Considering So They Can Afford Home Ownership - InvestingChannel

Top 5 Cities People Are Considering So They Can Afford Home Ownership

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Top 5 Cities People Are Considering So They Can Afford Home

In case you missed it, earlier this week, The Juice gave our thoughts on Zillow (Z) the stock alongside interesting, if not crazy pieces of housing news from the company. It’s no surprise that investor search interest in Zillow and real estate services stocks in general continues to increase, as measured by Trackstar, our proprietary sentiment indicator. Many of these platforms are seeing more traffic and getting themselves involved, for better or worse, in parts of the homebuying process. 

Large numbers of Americans who can’t afford home ownership where they live are making moves to other parts of the country. And they’re heading to real estate search sites such as Zillow to do their research. 

With this trend top of mind, we dedicate this and the next installment and this coming Tuesday’s installment to the places where people are relocating or thinking about relocating to. 

Today, we focus on popular domestic cities for potential migration. On Tuesday, we look at destinations outside of The United States, but within the Americas. 

If you have moved or are thinking about moving so that you can buy a home or secure a more affordable housing situation, please send us a note. We might like to feature you in a future edition of The Juice.  

To that end, where are people seeking relief from relatively high housing prices within the US? We say relatively because some of these places aren’t necessarily cheap. They’re just less expensive than some of the places people would be coming from. did the analysis based on the search traffic they’re seeing. The Juice ran the numbers on how much money you need to make to afford the median-priced home in each city, using the spend no more than 30% of your income on housing personal finance standard. 

#1-Phoenix. Seems funny that a place so many people have deemed unlivable due to increasingly excessive heat tops the list. Even funnier that one of the places people are searching from is Alaska! There’s widespread national interest in Phoenix thanks, in part, to a median listed home price of $539,900, which is only about $100,000 over the national median. 

If you put 10% down on the median property in Phoenix and manage to secure a 7% interest rate on a 30-year mortgage, your monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, works out to $4,175. To afford this, you need to earn $13,917 a month, or $167,004 per year. Incredible that that’s “affordable” these days. says you can score a three-bedroom condo in Downtown Phoenix or a four-bedroom suburban home with a three-car garage in North Phoenix for just above that median. 

#2-Chicago. Yeah, Chicago. All the Italian beef you can eat and a median list price of just $389,000. Using the same mortgage metrics as for Phoenix, the monthly payment in Chicago comes in at $3,007. To afford this, you need to earn $10,023 a month, or $120,276 per year.

If you want to live downtown in Chicago, it’s more expensive, but not that much more. As of July 2023, the median list price in Downtown Chicago was $525,000, which is up 10.5% year over year. However, the median sale price was $395,000, which is pretty much flat relative to 2022. 

Many of the folks searching Chicago are searching from cities like Grand Rapids or Sheboygan, which are only about three-hour drives away. 

#3-Atlanta. Hotlanta. Amazing. We don’t even get spell-checked when we write Hotlanta. It’s a thing. Anyhow, the median list price of a home in Atlanta is $435,000. Run the numbers and you’re looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $3,364. To afford this, you need to earn $11,213 a month, or $134,556 per year.

You can get a bigger home in Atlanta than you can, on average, nationally. If you want to live in the city, the typical condo right downtown goes for about $450,000.  

People looking to Atlanta tend to come from nearby southeastern states such as Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. 

#4-Dallas. Maybe a bit of a surprise even when you consider how hot of a destination Texas has become. Or maybe not. The median list price in Dallas is $469,999. This spits out a monthly payment of $3,635. To afford this, you need to earn $12,117 a month, or $145,404 per year.

In 42 out-of-state metros – from New York to Oregon – says Dallas is the most searched destination. Apparently, this has a lot to do with large corporations, such as, expanding and relocating there. 

If you want to live in Dallas’s super cool, urban and centrally-located Lower Greenville neighborhood, it’ll cost you. As of July 2023, the median list price there was $745,000 with a median sale price of $710,600. 

#5-Myrtle Beach. The smallest city on the list. And the least expensive with a median list price of $359,900. Your monthly payment on the typical property in this lovely South Carolina coastal community would be $2,783. To afford this, you need to earn $9,277 a month, or $111,324 per year. 

There’s lots of new construction in Myrtle Beach. And potential options just below the median. For example, you can score a three-bedroom, walking distance to the beach, for 350K. The Juice did a little digging (we used Zillow!!) and we found that, if you include condos and townhomes in the mix, you’ll find tons of listings, on the beach (!), for considerably less than $350,000.  

The Bottom Line: Can we call this good news? You tell us. 

The five most searched places among people considering property in cities they don’t live in all require $100,000-plus incomes to meet the 30% affordability standard. For some people, this might be a tall order. However, if you’ve been priced out of more expensive markets, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Seattle to Austin and New York City to Boston, you have a decent selection of settings for your new home. 

Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Myrtle Beach. That’s a diverse bunch. Even the most picky people on the TV show The Juice can’t get enough of – House Hunters – should be able to find something that suits their fancy and fits their budget.

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