Want to Buy a House? This Is How Many Hours You Need to Work to Afford One in Your State

iStock.com/jhorrocks
iStock.com/jhorrocks

How much people need to work to afford what is perhaps the most iconic aspect of the American dream—their own house—varies drastically from city to city and state to state. Just as real estate values change with ZIP codes, so, too, do income levels. (Not to mention tax rates and the price of common goods.) To see how attainable owning a home in different cities across the U.S. really is, the cost information site HowMuch.net mapped how many hours someone earning the median income in the country’s biggest cities would need to work just to pay the average mortgage.

To crunch the numbers, the site used Census data to figure out the median hourly income for people in the 98 biggest cites in the U.S., based on the idea that everyone is working 40 hours a week. (Which isn’t very realistic, but still provides a rough estimate.) Then, HowMuch.net used data from Zillow on the median housing prices to calculate the median monthly mortgage price in each of those cities, estimating that people typically get a 30-year mortgage.

Here's the breakdown for the country's most expensive metros:

1. New York, New York: 113 hours
2. Los Angeles, California: 112 hours
3. Miami, Florida: 109 hours
4. San Francisco, California: 107 hours
5. Boston, Massachusetts: 95 hours
6. Oakland, California: 83 hours
7. Long Beach, California: 78 hours
8. San Diego, California: 77 hours
9. Santa Ana, California: 74 hours
10. San Jose, California: 74 hours

California is just as expensive as you thought it was, and that applies to more than just L.A. and Silicon Valley. Long Beach and Orange County's Santa Ana make the list, too, as does sunny San Diego. Those cities pale in comparison to Miami and Boston, though. Someone living in Santa Ana would be able to afford the median mortgage working a full 35 fewer hours than someone in Miami—basically a whole workweek. Of course, that seems much less affordable when you consider that someone in Memphis only has to work 18 hours to afford their mortgage, about a fifth of what someone in San Jose does.

Obviously, there are aspects of this data that don't entirely capture the reality on the ground. Many people work more than 40 hours a week. Interest rates can vary a lot based on credit score, when you took out your mortgage, and other factors. Many households have more than one source of income, and those incomes may not be equal, which change the figures quite a bit. Most importantly, this only reflects the cost of housing. While a mortgage payment is a huge chunk of most people's expenses, this graphic doesn't reflect the cost of other necessities like food, insurance, transportation, and all the other things we have to pay for to get by in any given month.

So, before you plan your move to Memphis, bear in mind that these are just rough estimates. That said, if you do want to move to Memphis, we wouldn't blame you.

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Each State

Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Greg Meland/iStock via Getty Images

In 2018, Americans took about 1.8 billion trips for leisure purposes alone, the U.S. Travel Association reports. But what types of attractions do they visit during those trips? Thanks to new data from Groupon and Viator, a TripAdvisor company, we now have the answer.

Map of the Northeast of the United States, showing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in that region
Groupon

Groupon mapped out each state’s most popular travel experience and classified them according to price, type, and region. Tourists in the northeast United States tend to gravitate toward what Groupon describes as “exploration and discovery” activities, like the Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia, Maine's Portland City and Lighthouse Tour, and the day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard.

Map of the Midwest region of the United States, listing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in those states
Groupon

The Midwest is by far the cheapest place to vacation, with the cost of attractions in the region averaging about $48. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota are great states to visit if you’re looking for a top-ranked food tour, while South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois offer plenty of educational tours and experiences (including a movie site tour for Field of Dreams fans).

Map of the Southern region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist attractions in that area
Groupon

Experiences in the South are fairly varied. Visitors have plenty of options, whether they’re looking for a historic tour of Asheville, North Carolina's Biltmore Estate (the largest privately owned house in the United States) or a day of thrills at Virginia’s Busch Gardens amusement park. Tourists in the South do seem to prefer watery activities, though—the region is popular for dinner cruises and dolphin watching.

Map of the Western region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist destinations in the area
Groupon

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the West is easily the most expensive region for visitors, averaging about $176 per attraction. Tourists in this region tend to gravitate toward experiences like helicopter tours and hot air balloon rides, all of which push the region toward the pricey end of the scale. Still, if you’re looking for astounding natural beauty, there are few places with more variety than the American West.

The Most Famous Mythical Creature in Each State

CashNetUSA
CashNetUSA

The widespread popularity of fantasy franchises like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones suggests that, on some level, we all wish that dragons, giants, and other magical creatures actually existed.

While Nifflers, Thestrals, and Blast-Ended Skrewts may only be found within the pages of a Harry Potter novel, plenty of other mythical beasts have allegedly been spotted a lot closer to home than you might think. CashNetUSA's SavingSpot blog created a map highlighting the most famous magical monster in each state—an American edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if you will.

Some slither, others skulk, and pretty much all of them have the potential to take your nightmares to the next level. You’ll probably recognize some of the better-known ones: New Jersey is home to the Jersey Devil, Texas claims the fanged Chupacabra, and Washington boasts Bigfoot, who seems downright charming compared to others on the list.

new jersey's jersey devil illustration
CashNetUSA

However, the majority of these creatures are rather obscure, and therefore all the more terrifying. The emaciated Wendigo from Minnesota kills with a glance, smells like a dead body, and will not hesitate to gobble you up. And good luck trying to outrun Illinois’s hissing, three-legged Enfield Horror, which can cover 25 feet in a single leap.

minnesota's wendigo illustration
CashNetUSA

Pennsylvania’s Squonk, on the other hand, is almost too pathetic to be scary. Apparently, it’s so ashamed of its saggy skin and wart-covered face that it can cry itself into a pool of water and simply slip out of any cage. If you see it, maybe just compliment its twinkling eyes and send it on its merry way.

pennsylvania's squonk illustration
CashNetUSA

The Loch Ness Monster lives all the way out in Scotland, of course, but she’s definitely inspired a few Nessie-wannabes right here in the States. Nevada has Tahoe Tessie, an 80-foot-long possible plesiosaur, and Maryland’s Chessie calls the Chesapeake Bay home.

nevada's tahoe tessie illustration
CashNetUSA

If you pay close attention to the details of SavingSpot’s accompanying online bestiary, you’ll see some clues about how these tall tales arose from fairly normal occurrences. Eyewitnesses first described Idaho’s aquatic dino Sharlie as a huge log, North Carolina’s Beast of Bladenboro resembles a bear, and Rhode Island’s vampire Mercy Brown was once a real woman—locals declared her a vampire after digging up her grave and realizing she hadn’t decayed at all. (For the record, she had only been dead for two months, and the winter temperatures likely preserved her body.)

mercy brown illustration
CashNetUSA

Find out which mythical beast hails from your home state here.

[h/t CashNetUSA]

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