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You've made it to the final installment in my series. It's been a long road: You started off years ago as an entry-level intern architect, worked your way up through the middle ranks, got married along the way, and now you're finally a managing principal at your firm. Now you're finally living the dream.
The 2015 AIA Compensation Report describes your position as follows:"Licensed architect or other licensed design professional with direct oversight for a market sector, discipline, department or office, who establishes and implements goals and objectives, develops and promotes the firm's values and long-range plans, positions the firm for growth and ensures profitability. Responsible for establishing overall goals and objectives and coordinating implementation plans. In conjunction with other senior leaders, is responsible for realization of profits compatible with interests of clients and the firm. Develops and promotes the firm's vision, mission, core values, and long-range plans. Oversees and controls operations and activities to promote achievement of the firm's objectives. Implements policies established by the board. Participates in creating and positioning the firm to take advantage of opportunities for growth and marketplace expansion. Ensures profitability, quality enhancement, and professional development. May be responsible for some of the tasks of the Director of Human Resources at small to mid-size firms."My numbers are based on the average base pay for this position, and the following assumptions:1) Crucially, you've managed to marry somebody who makes roughly the same amount of money you do, and you may or may not have kids living at home. Each of the properties shown has at least three bedrooms.2) Housing affordability is based on your combined household income, $1000 monthly debt payments (hopefully you've paid off your student loans by now and haven't gone crazy with credit cards), 4.5% APR, and a 20% down payment thanks to the equity you've built up in your previous home and/or inheriting some money from mom and dad.3) At this point in your career I'm assuming you aren't taking the bus to work, but I show commute times via public transit if it's faster than driving.
4) You've reached a point in your career where you can afford to be somewhat picky about your housing situation, and if you haven't chosen to design and build your own home, you've at least chosen a place that reflects your values as an architect as well as the zeitgeist of its locale.Sources:USAA Housing Affordability Calculator: https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/advice_mortgage_affordability_calculator_mainRealtor.com
Let's get started:
Cincinnati, OHMean salary: $111,700Combined income: $223,400Max. home price: $1,126,700Down payment: $225,350Monthly payment: $6633Shown here: 5 bed / 5 bath, Mount LookoutCommute time: 15 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1330-Observatory-Dr_Cincinnati_OH_45208_M40355-37946
Asheville, NCMean salary: $141,800Combined income: $283,600Max. home price: $1,476,100Down payment: $295,220Monthly payment: $8690Shown here: 4 bed / 4.5 bath, North AshevilleCommute time: 18 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/345-Lynn-Cove-Rd_Asheville_NC_28804_M53290-14806
Jacksonville, FLMean salary: $107,400Combined income: $214,800Max. home price: $1,076,800Down payment: $215,360Monthly payment: $6339Shown here: 3 bed / 2.5 bath, Atlantic BeachCommute time: 28 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/77-19th-St_Atlantic-Beach_FL_32233_M55410-22252
Chicago, ILMean salary: $133,500Combined income: $267,000Max. home price: $1,379,800Down payment: $275,960Monthly payment: $8123Shown here: 5 bed / 4 bath, Lincoln ParkCommute time: 26 minutes (Red Line subway to State / Madison)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1143-W-Drummond-Pl_Chicago_IL_60614_M73252-91361
Boston, MAMean salary: $172,100Combined income: $344,200Max. home price: $1,827,800Down payment: $365,570Monthly payment: $10,760Shown here: 3 bed / 3 bath, North EndCommute time: 15 minutes (Orange Line subway to Downtown Crossing)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/7-Jackson-Ave_Boston_MA_02113_M38123-69274?ex=MA596624993
Philadelphia, PAMean salary: $139,700Combined income: $279,400Max. home price: $1,451,700Down payment: $290,350Monthly payment: $8546Shown here: 7 bed / 5.5 bath / 4 stables, West Mount AiryCommute time: 51 minutes (Regional Rail to Suburban Station)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/6925-Scotforth-Rd_Philadelphia_PA_19119_M36190-39587
New York, NYMean salary: $158,000Combined income: $316,000Max. home price: $1,664,200Down payment: $332,830Monthly payment: $9797 + HOAShown here: 3 bed / 2 bath, Morningside HeightsCommute time: 36 minutes (1/2/3 subway to Fulton Street)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/520-W-110th-St-Apt-3A_New-York_NY_10025_M43721-27698?ex=NY596765773
Los Angeles, CAMean salary: $142,900Combined income: $285,800Max. home price: $1,488,900Down payment: $297,780Monthly payment: $8765Shown here: 3 bed / 3 bath, Hollywood HillsCommute time: 45 minutes (Red Line subway to Pershing Square)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3600-Multiview-Dr_Los-Angeles_CA_90068_M21369-92258
Seattle, WAMean salary: $146,500Combined income: $293,000Max. home price: $1,530,700Down payment: $306,140Monthly payment: $9011Shown here: 3 bed / 3 bath, Bainbridge IslandCommute time: 54 minutes (Ferry to Pioneer Square)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/244-Parfitt-Way-SW_Bainbridge-Island_WA_98110_M12519-05029
San Francisco, CAMean salary: $163,600Combined income: $327,200Max. home price: $1,729,200Down payment: $345,830Monthly payment: $10,179Shown here: 3 bed / 3 bath, Delores HeightsCommute time: 22 minutes (BART subway to Union Square)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1183-Dolores-St_San-Francisco_CA_94110_M17400-30913
Portland, ORMean salary: $127,100Combined income: $254,200Max. home price: $1,305,500Down payment: $261,100Monthly payment: $7685Shown here: 4 bed / 3.5 bath, Lake OswegoCommute time: 30 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/15800-Oswego-Shore-Ct_Lake-Oswego_OR_97034_M27268-32184
Denver, COMean salary: $142,300Combined income: $284,600Max. home price: $1,481,900Down payment: $296,390Monthly payment: $8724Shown here: 4 bed / 5 bath, Morrison, COCommute time: 45 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/7181-S-Andrea-Ln_Morrison_CO_80465_M12542-16434
Minneapolis, MNMean salary: $189,200Combined income: $378,400Max. home price: $2,026,300Down payment: $405,270Monthly payment: $11,929Shown here: 4 bed / 4.5 bath, UptownCommute time: 20 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3125-E-Calhoun-Pkwy_Minneapolis_MN_55408_M78286-02307
Atlanta, GAMean salary: $123,300Combined income: $246,600Max. home price: $1,261,400Down payment: $252,280Monthly payment: $7426Shown here: 4 bed / 4.5 bath, Randall MillCommute time: 20 minutes (drive to downtown)http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3895-Beechwood-Dr-NW_Atlanta_GA_30327_M57618-88687?ex=GA625889386
Biggest takeaways for me:1) Minneapolis is the only city where your home, given these assumptions, breaks the $2M mark. Are architects really that well-paid there?
2) But in Philadelphia, you can buy an estate with a name, with seven fireplaces and a stable.
3) Asheville seems like a solid bet at each stage of your career if you can find a job there.
4) As for me, that place on Bainbridge Island looks like something worth striving for.
Fascinating thread as usual. But, I think it would be more relevant if you had used only one income. Arbitrarily jumping to a two-earner income scenario versus single income for mid-career is comparing apples and oranges. A mid-career person would probably also be married at this point, and would have the spouse's income also being applied to the home purchase.
This isn't exactly on point, but any architect in the late years of their career who is leveraging to the max and also using the spouse's income for a home purchase needs his head examined. By the time you are a managing partner you have gone through enough vicious downturns that you know how unreliable an architect's income is, and should be focused on paying off the house you bought as a mid-careerist. JMHO.
I think you're buying too much house...
tons of homes for a lot less money-
And your commute is 30 minutes, not an hour
The purpose of this thread was to show what's possible under the most optimistic scenario. Obviously it won't apply to every person.
As for me, I'd never want the debt burden or the maintenance responsibilities for a 5-bedroom suburban house. I don't want kids, and I'd be perfectly happy to live out my days in a 2-bedroom condo that would hopefully be paid off before I reach retirement age.
David, Great fun. The Minneapolis house seems like it would suck both paychecks into the void in a heartbeat month after month for maintenance and repair. The pics of the bathroom seem to indicate a fireplace (?!) and the bathroom floor has already gone to Jesus. The bedroom pics scream "flip this house". One of the outside doors has a kitchen nook to one side and a potty on the other side? 115 year old huge wooden house in Minneapolis where a lot of the early residents built out of stone? Can't even imagine opening up the heating bill in winter. Might have to rethink that one.
Nice research David.
A thousand square foot house in Tokyo is about 1.5 million dollars - architect designed and cool. I thought that was out of reach until I earned about 200K a year. Surprised it is more or about the same in america. Leaves me a bit frightened.
Including a spouse in the income calculation is interesting, something I haven't thought about in a while. I make a relatively good living in Tokyo but as is not so rare in Japan my wife earns about a fifth of what I do (although she is bloody amazing at her job). So we live like it's 1950 USA. Japan is not overtly sexist (well, not exactly), not like the movies or TV shows. But comparisons like this underline how much we are missing when it comes to opportunity.
I had to change three light bulbs today
My wife and I are close to what you describe, but those homes would be way out of our reach. Still, we have a great home in a great neighborhood.
How many mid career people have a 1.5 M home? Even my BIL (fancy NYC lawyer & doctor wife) didn't spend that much.
This recently sold for $763,000 (US Dollars) in Melbourne, Australia. Everybody knows there is a land shortage in.......Australia?
Link to the realtor page? Maybe there is a basketball court below the house?
Once again this has me wondering why stay in NYC.. I grew up here and have a very rare affordable housing situation. I don't know how other do it.
When you look at how much more house you get for your money when you move to "flyover country" it's a wonder anybody stays in NYC, SF, etc. I know they are supposed to be exciting, but Jesus..................
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