LeverageRx processes thousands of physician mortgage loans. That means we can answer a lot of questions about the types of houses doctors can afford.
Using 2017 house pricing data from Trulia and our own internal data, we mapped out:
- How the prices of doctors’ homes compare to the median person in each state.
- The median home prices of doctors on an absolute scale in each state.
In doing so, we have illustrated how this price gap varies by location, and which doctors have the most expensive homes.
In the Midwest, doctors' homes are typically twice as expensive as the median buyer. In North Dakota and Ohio, the median doctor bought a home that was 182% and 117% more expensive, respectively. (These are the top two states by percentage difference.)
This shows that settling down in the Midwest can be financially rewarding for doctors. Strong earning power and job security allows them to capitalize on states with a lower cost of living.
In Alaska, the median doctor bought a house that was only 5% more expensive than the median home buyer. (Alaska has the lowest percentage difference.)
Overall, doctors tend to buy much more expensive homes than the average person. To illustrate this, we compared our median price of doctors' homes with the median housing estimate from Zillow:
This clearly reflects how doctors command top salaries. Despite concerns with payment rates and student loans, most doctors are still doing quite well.
One point of emphasis is just how much housing prices can vary by state. The median house costs $164,000 in West Virginia. On the other hand, the median house costs $549,000 in California.
Doctors must consider this when figuring out the size of house they want to purchase. Purchasing a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom house with an acre of land will be doable in certain parts of the country. In others, not so much.
The amount that doctors spend on homes varies from state to state. A lot. In fact, the median doctor in California spends three times more than the median doctor in West Virginia.
In general, doctors in the South and Midwest spend the least on homes. Doctors on the coasts (especially California and New York) spend the most on homes.
In over half of the states, doctors paid a median home price between $400,000 and $600,000. This is a decent estimate of what a doctor will end up paying in the vast majority of the country.
Using data from Attom Data Solutions, we were able to draw an interesting conclusion about the down-payments that doctors make.
Doctors often put less money down than the median American homebuyer. In fact, sometimes nothing at all. Why is this?
Upon finishing residency and entering practice, doctors typically have:
- A lot of student loan debt.
- Little savings and income history.
- Poor credit scores.
For conventional lenders, these traits are major red flags. This highlights the need for doctor home loans, which are far more flexible than traditional mortgage loans.
Case in point, there is a major gap between the price of doctors’ homes and that of the average American. Based on our findings, doctors' homes are roughly 40 to 60 percent more expensive than the median homebuyer's.
But this is not a hard-and-fast rule. We found that the gap is much smaller in some states, most notably Alaska.
Like all Americans, doctors in different states buy houses of vastly different price points. However, housing prices are not the only factor that determine the homes that doctors buy. The percent difference in price between the homes of the median American and doctor widely varies as well.
Given their strong financial situation and access to physician mortgage loans, doctors can put less money down on a mortgage than the average person. But this isn't just a perk of their profession. Rather, it's an adaptation by lenders to the unique financial traits of doctors.
We hope our research has helped you better understand:
- Doctors' unique financial situation.
- How this impacts their home-buying decision.
- And just how much more expensive their homes are.
Jack is a Creighton University graduate and former advertising creative who has written extensively about topics in personal finance, employee benefits, and technology. You can find Jack's writing on Calendar.com, StartupNation, and Muck Rack.