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LinkedIn-Zillow Research Finds Places Where Jobs and Affordable Housing Intersect

Tech workers end the month with thousands more in disposable income in Seattle than San Francisco after paying for housing and income taxes, according to a new report from Zillow and LinkedIn

– Seattle tech workers who own their homes can expect to have about $2,000 more in disposable income each month than tech workers in the Bay Area. Seattle tech workers keep an average of 59 percent of their income after paying taxes and housing, while Bay Area tech workers pocket only 37 percent.

– Healthcare workers have the best shot at a job and an affordable home in Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Boston, according to the analysis.

– Among large markets, Charlotte, Chicago and Dallas offer the greatest chance of a good job and affordable housing for finance workers.

There’s a good reason thousands of technology workers are flocking to Seattle: the math works out. Tech workers who rent in Seattle can expect to have around $5,500 left over each month after covering taxes and rental housing costs. In San Francisco, they’re left with about $4,000.

Zillow and LinkedIn combined housing and employment data to analyze a common set of priorities: an affordable rental home and a good job. The two companies used job listings data, salary data, and the percent of workers hired in the past yeari in three industries: health care, technology, and finance. By analyzing income tax rates and Zillow’s median rent dataii, they were able to find housing markets across the country where those workers can pocket the largest share of their income after paying rent.

For technology workers who rent, Seattle, Austin and Pittsburgh, Penn. came out on top among the housing markets analyzed, with the Bay Area at #4. Finance workers will find job and rental housing harmony most easily in Charlotte, NC, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Phoenix. Healthcare workers’ best bets are Phoenix, Indianapolis, Ind., and Boston.

Over the past decade, housing prices in coastal markets have shot up, in large part due to demand from workers following high-paying jobs. West Coast housing affordability is the worst in the nation; renters and home owners there often spend nearly half the median income to rent a typical home, while a rental in the middle of the country costs more like 25 percent of the median income.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the findings is that tech workers do OK in the Bay Area, despite its notoriously high housing prices. The median home value in the San Francisco area is $789,300. Taking a tech job in the Denver area, where the median home value is $348,700, actually costs the average Denver tech worker about $140 a month, considering lower salaries there.

Salaries for other industries don’t hold up as well in the San Francisco area, though. Even highly-paid finance workers keep only about 32 percent of their incomes after paying for housing and taxes. In Charlotte or Chicago, they can pocket a median of 61 percent.

“High demand and inventory shortages have driven up housing prices in some markets so much that even if you land a great job, the salary might not cover living within commuting distance,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “On the other hand, the nation’s most affordable housing markets don’t always offer plentiful employment opportunities. Housing is the biggest line item in most people’s budgets, so we did the math for you and found ‘sweet spots’ — places with great job markets and housing markets that will leave you with some cash at the end of the month.”

“As we’ve seen in LinkedIn’s Workforce Reports, hiring has been strong in the U.S. We also know that having insight into where your earnings go further is important to job seekers,” said Paul Ko, the head of analytics for LinkedIn’s Economic Graph. “That’s why these Sweet Spots are so attractive, as these cities are experiencing higher-than-average hiring rates, combined with good salaries and more disposable income.”

For more information about methodology, check out Zillow Research.

Finance

Renters

Owners

Disposable
Income (%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Disposable
Income
(%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Sweet
Spot
Ranking
for
Rentersiii

Charlotte, NC

52.3%

$               3,685

61.3%

$               4,318

1

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

53.4%

$               3,597

64.8%

$               4,362

2

Phoenix, AZ

50.6%

$               3,249

58.0%

$               3,723

3

Boston, MA

41.7%

$               3,198

52.7%

$               4,043

4

Chicago, IL

48.8%

$               3,453

61.1%

$               4,322

5

New York City, NY

37.6%

$               3,142

48.1%

$               4,021

6

Seattle, WA

51.0%

$               4,163

57.1%

$               4,657

7

Austin, TX

51.4%

$               3,495

61.3%

$               4,170

8

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

47.8%

$               3,429

57.5%

$               4,128

9

San Francisco Bay, CA

30.1%

$               2,794

32.3%

$               2,991

10

Pittsburgh, PA

56.2%

$               3,582

65.2%

$               4,155

11

Denver, CO

41.5%

$               2,761

51.2%

$               3,409

12

Nashville, TN

55.9%

$               3,715

65.9%

$               4,379

13

Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

53.7%

$               3,085

65.5%

$               3,762

14

Washington D.C. Metro, VA

39.1%

$               3,121

47.9%

$               3,819

15

Healthcare Services

Renters

Owners

Disposable
Income (%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Disposable
Income (%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Sweet Spot
Ranking for
Renters

Phoenix, AZ

52.1%

$         3,793

58.6%

$        4,267

1

Indianapolis, IN

53.7%

$         3,111

65.3%

$        3,783

2

Boston, MA

40.1%

$         2,861

52.0%

$        3,706

3

Denver, CO

40.5%

$         2,580

50.7%

$        3,228

4

Austin, TX

48.7%

$         2,846

60.3%

$        3,521

5

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

46.7%

$         3,087

57.3%

$        3,786

6

Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

54.4%

$         3,297

65.6%

$        3,974

7

Seattle, WA

48.8%

$         3,502

55.6%

$        3,996

8

Pittsburgh, PA

55.9%

$         3,403

65.3%

$        3,976

9

Nashville, TN

55.4%

$         3,503

65.9%

$        4,167

10

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

52.8%

$         3,405

64.7%

$        4,170

11

San Francisco Bay, CA

31.0%

$         2,976

33.1%

$        3,173

12

Charlotte, NC

50.7%

$         3,050

61.2%

$        3,683

13

Kansas City, MO

49.2%

$         2,943

60.6%

$        3,625

14

Chicago, IL

47.1%

$         2,999

60.8%

$       3,868

15

Technology

Renters

Owners

Disposable
Income (%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Disposable
Income (%)

Disposable
Income ($)

Sweet Spot
Ranking for
Renters

Seattle, WA

54.3%

$         5,493

59.2%

$     5,987

1

Austin, TX

53.8%

$         4,336

62.2%

$     5,011

2

Pittsburgh, PA

56.4%

$         3,681

65.2%

$     4,254

3

San Francisco Bay, CA

35.6%

$         3,964

37.4%

$     4,161

4

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

54.9%

$         4,121

65.0%

$     4,886

5

Denver, CO

44.2%

$         3,373

52.7%

$     4,021

6

Charlotte, NC

52.1%

$         3,600

61.3%

$     4,233

7

Boston, MA

43.1%

$         3,532

53.4%

$     4,377

8

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

47.7%

$         3,419

57.5%

$     4,118

9

Detroit, MI

54.5%

$         3,925

64.1%

$     4,618

10

Atlanta, GA

50.8%

$         3,709

60.2%

$     4,397

11

Indianapolis, IN

55.0%

$         3,648

65.2%

$     4,320

12

Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

55.5%

$         3,674

65.7%

$     4,351

13

Washington D.C. Metro, VA

40.1%

$         3,356

48.4%

$     4,054

14

Nashville, TN

55.3%

$         3,469

65.9%

$     4,133

15

Zillow
Zillow® is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

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