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Top Cities for Homeowning Teachers

Inland California offers teachers relatively high average salaries combined with lower house prices than other regions, according to a report from Redfin.com, thus, that part of the country is home to five of the most-affordable metropolitan areas for teachers to live in a home of their own. 

Through analysis of median disposable incomes for teachers in the 157 U.S. metro areas where there was sufficient income data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics/sufficient housing-cost data from Redfin, the authors of this report found teachers in Merced, California in 2020 had more disposable income than those in any other city.

There, the median teacher salary was $99,637 last year, while the median annual homeownership cost was $35,051, leaving them a median disposable income of $64,586—the highest among the 157 cities studied.

Fresno followed, with a median disposable income of $54,510, then Riverside at $51,105, Modesto, $50,950, and Bakersfield, $50,931.

"Merced's affordability also comes from its distance to big cities. People travel up to an hour for fine dining, shopping and sometimes work," said Debbie Engel, a Keller Williams Real Estate Agent. "Still, Merced has been getting more expensive every year and real estate demand continues to peak. That's largely due to the presence of UC Merced and the area's affordability relative to other major California metros."

California (southern) also is home to the least affordable city for teachers, San Jose—while salaries average $90,314 in 2020, the median annual homeownership cost was $87,612, leaving these educators with a median disposable income of just $2,703. And the experts don't see property-price relief in sight.

"San Jose is expensive, and those prices are going to keep on climbing. That's because housing demand is far outpacing supply," said local Redfin Real Estate Agent Robert Garcia "Land is so scarce that there won't be many new affordable residential building projects in the near future. If anything is going to change, it will have to come from raising teacher salaries on a policy level."

Kahului, Hawaii offers teachers a median disposable income of just $5,038, followed by St. George, Utah at $6,560, Salinas, California with $7,002 disposable income and Flagstaff, Arizona with about $8,388. 

The report available at Redfin.com also shows how renting teachers fare from city to city.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others. Contact Christina at [email protected]
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