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Even Professors and Engineers Can't Afford Many NYC Homes

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Two recently released studies doubly confirm what we already knew: that much of New York City's housing stock for purchase is unaffordable for many families. According to a Redfin study released last week on housing affordability for the nation's middle class, a family unit living on one median salary can only afford 22 percent of the homes on the market, while those living with two can afford half. Meanwhile, a professor's salary can afford 61 percent, while an engineer's salary can afford 52 percent. Then come the more lucrative professions: a management professional, 77 percent; and a doctor, 82 percent.

At around the same time, Zillow unleashed a report about mortgage affordability in the fourth quarter of 2013. It comes with a handy interactive map of areas where more than half of homes are affordable for median income households. For households making the median income and willing to spend the historic average of 32% of that income on a mortgage, equating to a monthly payment of just $1,446, clusters of affordability (that'd be the few-and-far-between green bits) are located in tiny chunks of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Now, that projected monthly payment is admittedly very low for large swaths of the city, but that's what happens when figures from the entire metropolitan area are lumped together.

Here's how Zillow explains the affordability map above. Again, here's the interactive version, in which you can toggle the monthly payment. Naturally, as you increase that figure, the number of green patches increases. Over at Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida dives into the meaning and impact of these maps for NYC and other cities across the U.S.

And here's New York compared with other U.S. cities that Zillow analyzed. At least we don't live in California, right? There, you need to sacrifice an extremely large percentage of monthly income in order to afford a home.

Last but not least, here's the slice of NYC data from the Redfin study, titled "Two Middle Incomes Don't Add Up To A Home." Again, Californians—as our sister sites in San Francisco and Los Angeles have duly noted—have it worse off. Yay?

· Two Middle Class Incomes Don't Add Up to a Home [Redfin Blog]
· In Search of Affordability: 2013 Q4 [Zillow]
· The Search for Affordable Housing Is Pushing the Middle Class to the Exurbs [Atlantic Cities]
· Market Reports archive [Curbed]