Do the Math

Here's the salary needed to afford a home in Austin

Here's the salary needed to afford a home in Austin

AIA Austin Homes Tour 2016
Don't forget about property taxes when pricing your dream home. Photo by Leonid Furmansky

We know how many hours it takes to pay the rent in Austin, but what sort of salary do you need if you want to buy a house? SmartAsset has the answer for ATX and three other Texas cities, based on its determination of a typical total monthly payment that includes mortgage, taxes, and homeowners insurance.

Gathering data from the U.S. Census Bureau and using the median home value in each of the 15 cities it studied, the personal finance website operated under the assumption that prospective homebuyers would pay 20 percent down on a 30-year-mortgage with a four percent interest rate. Things like an annual home value increase of two percent, annual inflation of two percent, and homeowners insurance at a rate of 0.5 percent were also included in the math.

The result shows that Austin homeowners should be especially cognizant of property taxes, and it's those pesky payments (some of the highest in the study) that greatly up the salary required for a home here. The real estate taxes on a home worth $240,000 in Austin (the median price) would be higher than the real estate taxes on a $471,000 home in Los Angeles. Monthly payments on the average home in Austin are about $1,426, which sets the yearly suggested salary at $47,523 and puts Austin at No. 6 on the list.

SmartAsset further clarifies how much property taxes impact those looking to buy in Austin, with the example of it taking a salary of $100,000 to afford the payments on a $609,500 home in San Jose (its median). If someone were to buy a home for the same price in Austin, SmartAsset would recommend an income of $128,000 — those real estate taxes in Austin would cost almost $600 a month.

Just two spots down on the list but requiring $20,000 less a year, Dallas can thank its affordable homes for a necessary salary of only $27,505. To pay off that home that cost a median $135,400, Dallasites need only shell out a monthly payment of $825.

With similar numbers, No. 9 Houston suggests homeowners can get by on a $27,067 salary. The average Houston household earns $46,000 a year, however, meaning that affording the monthly $812 is probably not that much of a reach.

Despite a recent population boom, San Antonio has remained affordable for prospective homebuyers, and that helps land it at No. 13. SmartAsset calculates a salary of $23,529 to afford a median-priced home of $117,000, but don't forget that important lesson about property taxes — they're all pretty high in Texas, and in San Antonio nearly 30 percent of that $706 monthly payment would go toward paying them.

If you're looking to move to San Francisco, better hope you land a well-paying job. It would take at least $128,598 to be able to buy a home there, as the median cost of one is nearly $800,000.