It has become difficult to enter in the US housing market. And not all healthcare workers have the wages of top surgeons. However, even those with lower-paying jobs can buy a home in many places across the US. They might have to move from big coastal metros to inland cities but fulfilling the dream of buying a home could make it well worthwhile.

StorageCafe recently surveyed nursing professions, among others, to see where among the 100 largest US metropolitan areas they can comfortably buy a home. Affordability is determined when a worker with an average salary can save a 20% down payment on a home using 20% of earnings in less than five years and can also pay off the mortgage with a maximum 30% of earnings.

Doctors can generally buy a home all across the US, but California’s coastal cities can still be unaffordable. For all types of healthcare professionals, metros in places such as Ohio, Kansas, Connecticut and inland California welcome them with better homebuying options. If you can’t realistically buy a home where you live on your healthcare salary, think about a move to a new city — you might find yourself traveling inland.

Coastal California may be out of reach but inland is not

In San Francisco and San Jose, nurses get averages salaries in excess of $150K, but the pricey local property market means that saving up for the down payment would take them over nine years. Still in California, the San Diego and Oxnard metros pay them around $115K, with Los Angeles offering a little more, and these places are almost as difficult for nurses to buy a home in. If you need to stay in the Golden State’s major cities, you could move to a smaller home and consider renting Los Angeles self storage and San Francisco self storage, for example, to make up for the reduction in living space.

However, with just a short move inland, Californian nurses who don’t wish to give up on their vocations can still live the homebuying dream. In the Fresno, Sacramento and Stockton metros, they would get average salaries in excess of $120K, and Bakersfield and Riverside would also enable them to buy a home in less than five years of saving for the down payment.

Dawn Over the Landmarks of West Sacramento
Dawn Over the Landmarks of West Sacramento, California

In the Northeast and Northwest smaller cities are affordable

The Connecticut metros of New Haven and Hartford offer nurses average salaries of around $90K and make homebuying affordable, and the same is true for Worcester, Massachusetts. By contrast, New York-Newark-Jersey City and Boston-Cambridge-Nashua would require them to save for more than five years to get a down payment, even though the average wages there are higher at about $103K.

Washington State shows similar trends, with nurses in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue earning an average of $102K but being able neither to save up a down payment quickly nor to pay off mortgage payments on their salaries due to the area’s high property prices. Meanwhile, upstate in Spokane, they can do both on their lower $93K average wage.

Healthcare workers can most easily buy in the Midwest

Not all healthcare workers earn as much as nurses’ national average salary of $90K. Therapists of various descriptions get a little less at $86K. They could easily buy a home in Toledo, Ohio, needing no more than two years to save up a down payment, and the same would be true in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Moving inland from a large coastal city would be a great option for any therapist who wants to buy a property but remain in their rewarding profession.

Wichita, Kansas, is another Midwest metro that offers healthcare workers some of the best homebuying affordability, along with several other Ohio metros such as Dayton, Cleveland and Akron. A wide range of healthcare professionals from dental hygienists, who earn an average of $84K, and dietitians, who get around $68K, often need less than three years to get their down payment together in these regions.

Keeper Of The Plains Statue & Arkansas River near Downtown Wichita Kansas
Keeper Of The Plains Statue & Arkansas River near Downtown Wichita, Kansas


Despite financial challenges, healthcare professionals can buy a home in many regions of the US. They just need salaries that are sufficient for saving up a down payment in a few years and paying off monthly mortgage payments. But they may have to move to a new city, and maybe rent some self storage if they have to buy a smaller home than is ideal. If you don’t want to give up either your homebuying dream or your rewarding healthcare profession, consider moving to a city where both are more than possible.


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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