Even the most affordable housing markets still aren’t very affordable The income needed for the most and least expensive metros by Kelsey Ramirez

As home prices grow across the U.S., higher wages are needed in order to live comfortably in many cities.

It should come as no surprise that those living in metros on the West Coast need higher incomes to live comfortably than those living in the middle of the U.S., according to a study by GOBankingRates, a personal finance website. But even in “cheaper” places to live, the financial metrics to live comfortably still don’t fall neatly in line.

In the study, GOBankingRates conducted a cost of living comparison in the 50 most populous metros using the median income by city and the amount needed to cover necessities including rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare.

The survey applies the 50-30-20 budgeting rule, which says 50% of income should cover necessities, 30% should cover discretionary items and 20% should be put in savings.

The study shows the most and least expensive markets, and because rent usually makes up the largest piece of expenses, data from Trulia analyzed by HousingWire shows the median rent prices for each metro as well as the median income earned.

Here are the most and least expensive markets:

Most expensive: San Francisco, California – $110,357

Median income: $78,002

Median Rent Per Month: $4,400

Least expensive: El Paso, Texas – $40,393

Median income: $37,281

Median Rent Per Month: $1,095

However, even in El Paso, the least expensive market in the study, residents are still coming short of the income needed to live comfortably, according to the study, meaning many consumers are either cutting back on their discretionary expenses or put less towards savings.

Here is a chart from GOBankingRates showing the study’s top five most and least expensive markets.


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