By Deborah Kearns
Have you ever asked yourself, "How much house can I afford?" in different cities across the country? Well, in conjunction with Realtor.com, we've crunched the numbers for you to find out what $300,000 buys in the 20 largest metro markets in the United States.
What's more, we've figured out how much you'd need to earn in those cities to afford a $300,000 home, assuming you can find one. You can thank us later.
In the gallery here, you can see actual listings from Realtor.com, as of Aug. 30, 2016, with an asking price of roughly $300,000. Click on the first image to open the gallery view and see the listing data for each property.
As you can see, your money goes a lot further in states like Texas and Georgia, with more than 3,000 square feet of legroom in some stately suburban McMansions. But in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, you'd be feeling a bit cramped; you'd be lucky to find anything over 800 square feet in those cities at this price point. Ouch.
To take the nerdy number crunching a step further, we asked Realtor.com to find out the minimum annual income needed to buy a $300,000 home in these markets. The income estimates are not a one-size-fits-all solution for each situation; the figures depend heavily on the size of your down payment, and they don't take into account other debts a homebuyer might have. Keep in mind that the more money you put down, the less your loan amount will be -- and that eases the pressure on how much you'd need to earn to afford a $300,000 in the nation's 20 largest metros.
It's clear that you'll get more for your money buying in the South and the Midwest than on the East or West coasts, but the latter options have cities with booming economies and job markets that make them more attractive than some of their Southern neighbors, especially to millennials.
Keep in mind, though, that price isn't the only consideration of where you choose to live. Think about job opportunities, crime, the local economy, schools, distance from family and friends, and home styles -- all factors that might influence your happiness in a new home. Choose wisely, friends!
Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @debbie_kearns. NerdWallet writer Caren Weiner Campbell contributed to this report.