38 US cities where people have to fork over more than 50% of their income to afford housing

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In 38 cities, at least 12% of all households are severely housing cost-burdened. Reuters
  • The cost to buy a home is more expensive than it’s ever been.
  • SmartAsset recently released a new report ranking the US cities with the most severely housing cost-burdened households – households that spend at least half of their income on housing.
  • In 38 cities, at least 12% of households are severely housing cost-burdened – almost half of the cities are in California.
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The housing market is on the climb.

It’s so expensive that, in some cities, the price of the typical home outweighs the average income by so much that it can take prospective homeowners well over a decade to save the necessary amount for a 20% down payment.

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, has released a new ranking that highlights the high cost of homeownership. Their May 2019 report found the US cities that have the most severely housing cost-burdened households. Here, a “housing cost-burdened household” is defined as one that spends more than 50% of its income on housing – well over the 30% mark that is traditionally recommended.

To determine this list, SmartAsset used data from the US Census Bureau’s 2017 1-year American Community Survey. Within this data, they took the number of severely housing cost-burdened households among homeowners in 126 cities, ranking each city by the percentage of households that spend at least half of their income on housing.

In 38 US cities, 12% (or more) of all households in the city spend at least half of their income on housing. Of these cities, 17 are in California, making it the state with the greatest number of severely housing cost-burdened cities. Florida ranks second, home to five of the most severely housing cost-burdened cities.

Read on to see the 38 US cities where at least 12% of the households are barely affording their homes.


38. Charleston, South Carolina

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12%


T37. Cincinnati, Ohio

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.08%


T37. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.08%


35. Huntington Beach, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.13%


34. Santa Clarita, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.23%


33. Simi Valley, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.25%


32. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.30%


31. San Diego, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.33%


30. Cape Coral, Florida

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.46%


29. Santa Ana, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households:12.47%


28. Hollywood, Florida

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.63%


27. Detroit, Michigan

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.75%


26. San Francisco, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.80%


25. Corona, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.83%


24. Pembroke Pines, Florida

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.85%


23. Stockton, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.90%


22. Irvine, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.96%


T22. Norfolk, Virginia

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 12.96%


20. Rancho Cucamonga, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.06%


19. Richmond, Virginia

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.16%


18. San Jose, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.19%


T18. Baltimore, Maryland

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.19%


16. Oakland, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.72%


15. Anaheim, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 13.79%


14. Torrance, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 14.04%


13. Chicago, Illinois

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 14.27%


12. Honolulu, Hawaii

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 14.44%


11. Thousand Oaks, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 15%


10. Boston, Massachusetts

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 15.41%


9. Pasadena, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 15.44%


8. New Orleans, Louisiana

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 15.67%


7. Long Beach, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 16.10%


6. Yonkers, New York

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 17.52%


5. New York, New York

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 17.64%


4. Hialeah, Florida

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 18.06%


3. Los Angeles, California

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 18.50%


2. Jersey City, New Jersey

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 19.39%


1. Miami, Florida

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Percentage of severely cost-burdened households: 19.49%