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Best Places to Buy a Home for 5 Popular Occupations



By Natalie Wise

Five common occupations have greatly varying incomes around the country. This makes buying a home a vastly different experience for, say, a firefighter in Riverside, Calif., than one in Charlotte, N.C. Zillow’s affordability index shows the best places to buy homes according to occupation.

The firefighter in Riverside can afford much more house than the firefighter in Charlotte. In Charlotte, a firefighter makes a median salary of $41,000, 19 percent of which goes toward housing, so an affordable house would be around $180,000.

In Riverside, a firefighter makes an average of $107,000 a year. They do spend more on housing — 26 percent of their income — but that allows them to purchase a home up to $653,000. In Tampa, the median firefighter salary is $56,000, and 75.9 percent of homes — up to $251,000 — are affordable.

Although the Riverside firefighter can afford more than 90 percent of the houses listed in the area, the Charlotte firefighter has less than half the market at his disposal — and Tampa splits the difference. The firefighter also had the best deal on a list of common occupations, featuring a better salary and allowing more house than even a lawyer in New York.

Here are four other common occupations and the best places in the country to buy a house with those jobs.

Teachers are going to want to be in California, too. A Bakersfield, Calif., teacher brings home a median income of $61,000, and 22 percent of that goes toward housing. That means houses in the $300,000 range are affordable, which is 87 percent of the market. In Tampa, the median teacher’s income is $39,000, so 55 percent of homes — up to 174,000 — are affordable.

Lawyers in Buffalo, N.Y., have the highest median income of lawyers in the largest 100 metros in the country, bringing in a median yearly income of $89,000. Spending 19 percent of that on housing means they can afford a home valued around $403,000, which covers 97 percent of houses. In Tampa, a median salary of $101,000 means lawyers can afford homes up to $447,000, or 93 percent of the market.

Construction workers are also best off in Buffalo, where they bring in an average of $35,000 a year. This allows them to afford a house up to $159,000, making a good chunk of the market — 63 percent of listings — an option. In Tampa, a median salary of $25,000 means only 29 percent of the market — up to $111,000 — is available to construction workers.
If you’re a food service worker, though, consider moving to Las Vegas, where the income for this occupation is the highest.

At $25,000 a year median income, with 25 percent of income spent on housing, owning a home is still an option. Food service workers in Las Vegas can look at homes under $144,000, about 43 percent of the housing market. In Tampa, the median salary for food service workers is $14,000 a year, meaning only 10 percent of homes are affordable.

No Florida cities were noted as the best for income and house shopping. Aside from Buffalo, it seems the West Coast is the place to be for these five common occupations. Luckily, the housing market is solidifying around the country, and buying a home is generally affordable in most markets.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 2:00pm]


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