When we talk about affordability, it's often in relation to just one economic group, but a new study offers a more nuanced picture of housing affordability in Dallas — and good news for a portion of the middle class.
Dallas is America's second most affordable housing market for middle-middle class families, according to LendingTree, which analyzed housing affordability in the nation's 50 largest metros for its study.
The greater Dallas metro area clocks in with a median home price of $174,500. That equates to a monthly mortgage payment of $716, according to the online loan marketplace, assuming a 20 percent down payment and mortgage rate of 4.6 percent.
Middle-middle class families (those earning the median income) can afford that payment — and then some — says the study. It adheres to the "28 percent rule" in determining an affordable mortgage payment, saying a person shouldn't spend more than that chunk of their annual gross income on housing.
In Dallas, middle-middle class families bring in $63,870 and can afford a mortgage payment of up to $1,490 a month. That's a surplus of $775 a month on the median-priced home in the metro.
Houston, the only other Texas metro mentioned in the study, takes top spot as the country's most affordable housing market for lower- and middle-middle class families. In the Bayou City, a median-priced home costs $166,500, which equates to a monthly mortgage payment of $683.
Lower-middle class families there bring in $41,948 and can afford a mortgage payment of up to $979 a month. That's a surplus of $296 a month on the median-priced home. Middle-middle class families in the Houston area see even more savings. Those households bring in $62,922 a year, and they can afford a mortgage payment up to $1,468 a month, a surplus of $785.
Pittsburgh, No. 2, and Buffalo, New York, No. 3, join Houston as the metros where lower-middle class families have "the easiest time" buying a median-priced home. Minneapolis, No. 3, joins Houston and Dallas as the third best metro for the middle-middle class.
Upper-middle class families fare best in Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis; and Hartford, Connecticut. Across the board, the least affordable metros are in California, but the upper-middle class there "still make[s] more than enough money to comfortably pay for a home in any of the nation’s 50 largest metros," the study says.