Jobs may not pay as much in the American heartland as they do in wealthy, coastal cities like New York or San Francisco, but there's one aspect of life in the Midwest thatcan't be beat: affordable home prices.
In Cleveland, a worker only needs to earn an annual salary of $29,800 to be able to afford a home, according to mortgage information provider HSH.com. That's the lowest of any of the country's 27 largest metro areas (see full list in table below).
One of the reasons Cleveland residents can get by on so much less: At $102,000, median home prices are among the lowest in the country. A borrower with a 30-year fixed mortgage that carries a 4.5% rate would pay just $695 a month for a median priced home in the city, HSH.com found.
Residents of San Francisco, however, can only dream about such reasonable monthly payments.
In San Francisco, it takes a salary of more than $137,000 a year to be able to afford a median priced home -- by far the highest home buying hurdle in the nation. The average monthly housing bill, which includes taxes and insurance, comes to about $3,200.
Low interest rates have helped keep homeownership costs across most of the country low, said Keith Gumbinger, a spokesman with HSH. "Rates are back at the levels we were at after they jumped last May," he said.
And while many of these cities offer lots of tech, financial services and other high-paying jobs, competition is so stiff that even those who can afford homes are having a hard time closing the deal.
What your paycheck will buy in 27 cities
How much do you need to earn in order to afford the principal and interest payments on a median-priced home in your metro area? HSH.com crunched the numbers.
Median home price
Annual salary you need to buy
San Antonio, Texas
Source: HSH.com Note: Calculations based on median home prices as reported by the National Association of Realtors; mortgage rates from HSH.com data; average local property taxes from the Tax Foundation; and insurance costs from the Insurance Information Institute.