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Find Out Where Your State Ranks in LendingTree’s Analysis of Monthly Housing Costs

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While home prices are rising across the United States, housing costs can vary significantly in different parts of the country.

To get a full picture of how housing costs can vary across the nation, LendingTree analysts used Census data to determine the median monthly housing payment for homes with a mortgage in each of the nation’s 50 states and ranked each one based on its respective payment amount.

In addition, LendingTree analysts also studied the ratio of household income to monthly housing costs in each state, and created a separate ranking based on where costs are the most expensive relative to income.

Key findings

  • Monthly payments for housing units with a mortgage are the most expensive in New Jersey, Hawaii and California. The median monthly housing payments in these states are $2,465, $2,418 and $2,357, respectively. For comparison, the national median is $1,595.
  • Housing payments are the least expensive in West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi. In these states, the median payment made by homeowners with a mortgage is $1,050, $1,089 and $1,147 a month, respectively.
  • Hawaii, California and New Jersey are also the states where median monthly housing payments are the highest relative to median household income. High housing costs mean that homeowners are spending more money on housing relative to their income in these states than they are in other parts of the country. In Hawaii, housing costs amount to 25.1% of the median household income, while in California and New Jersey they amount to 25% and 24%, respectively.
  • The ratio of housing costs to income is the lowest in West Virginia, Indiana and North Dakota. In these three states, housing costs amount to 17%, 17.2% and 17.3% of the median household income, respectively.

States with the highest median monthly housing costs for units with a mortgage

1. New Jersey

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,465
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $10,282
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 24% 

2. Hawaii

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,418
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $9,643
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 25.1% 

3. California

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,357
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $9,421
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 25%

States with the lowest median monthly housing costs for units with a mortgage

1. West Virginia

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,050
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $6,159
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 17% 

2. Arkansas

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,089
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $6,130
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 17.8% 

3. Mississippi

  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,147
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $6,069
  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 18.9%

States with the highest median monthly housing costs relative to household income

1. Hawaii

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 25.1%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,418
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $9,643 

2. California

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 25%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,357
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $9,421 

3. New Jersey

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 24%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $2,465
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $10,282

States with the lowest median monthly housing costs relative to household income

1. West Virginia

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 17%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,050
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $6,159

2. Indiana

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 17.2%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,148
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $6,692 

3. North Dakota

  • Median monthly housing costs as a percentage of median borrower income: 17.3%
  • Median monthly housing costs for homes with a mortgage: $1,426
  • Median monthly household income (owner-occupied housing units): $8,265

Tips for making your monthly housing payments more affordable

If you’re looking to buy a home — or if you already own one — there are a few tips you should keep in mind to help make your monthly housing payments more affordable:

  • Shop around for a mortgage loan before buying. Even if your financial profile is the same, different lenders may still offer you different rates when you apply for a mortgage. As a result, shopping around for a mortgage before choosing your lender can be a good way to get a better rate on your loan — which can result in lower monthly mortgage payments and potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
  • Make a bigger down payment on your home. While a large down payment isn’t often necessary to secure a loan, one of the main factors determining how much you’ll pay monthly is your loan size. The more cash you put toward your home purchase, the smaller your loan and monthly payment will be.
  • Refinance your loan to a lower rate. If you already own a home, refinancing can be a good way to lower your monthly mortgage payments. Despite rising at the start of 2021, mortgage rates still remain near record lows. As a result, if you have a strong credit profile, you might be able to refinance to a lower rate and, in the process, reduce your monthly payments.

Methodology

The data in this study is derived from the 2019 American Community Survey with five-year estimates (the latest survey available at the time of this study’s writing).

Income data is taken from owner-occupied households, while monthly housing cost data is based on costs paid by homeowners in housing units with mortgages. These costs include monthly mortgage payments, as well as additional costs like insurance and taxes.

Senior research analyst Jacob Channel contributed to this study.

 

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