Business · Central Valley

Checking in on Fresno’s mortgage stress


San Francisco tops the list of households in mortgage stress out of 100 biggest U.S. cities,per

Out of the top 100 largest American cities by population, San Francisco tops the list with the highest levels of mortgage stress. Out of these 100 cities, one in five are under mortgage stress.

Half of the 20 cities under mortgage stress are in California. San Francisco tops the list with average mortgage repayments taking up almost 61.47% of the median household income.

Los Angeles has the second-highest mortgage stress level of 50.07%, followed by Oakland on 49.73%. New York is third with 47.72% of homeowners’ income to repayments, and Honolulu rounding out the top 5 most stressed cities in the United States at 44.27%.

Of the top 100 cities, the average mortgage repayment is 20.9% of the average income. Fresno ranks 34th at 20.05%:



Median home value

Median household income

Annual mortgage repayments*

Repayments as proportion of income


Fresno, CA





On the other end of the spectrum is Detroit, which is the easiest of the major cities in the USA in which to repay a mortgage. Repayments only make up 6.12% of the median household wage for Detroit citizens.

Ohio cities Toledo and Cleveland are the second and third least stressed cities (7.26% and 8.50%), with Memphis and Fort Wayne not far behind (8.63% and 9.31%).

Comments by Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at personal finance website

“Mortgage stress is generally when a homeowner’s mortgage repayments are more than 28% of their gross income. It’s concerning to see that some of the most populated cities in the country have the highest levels of mortgage stress.

Interest rates are front of mind for many households today and rates are likely to increase over the next year. It’s more important than ever for households with a mortgage to get ahead and plan for future rate rises. It’s a good time to review your financial situation – check how much of your income is being spent on your repayments to see if you are in mortgage stress, how much debt do you have and are you saving any money?

“It’s also the perfect time to review your banking products, particularly your mortgage because lenders’ rates vary much greater when rates are increasing.

“If you are under mortgage stress, talk to your lender to find out what they can do to help you get back on track and reduce your repayments. Compare mortgages online to get a better idea of how your loan compares. They may be able to reduce your loan or you could perhaps switch to another lender.

“It’s a good idea to factor in at least 1-2 percent higher interest rates to ensure you can afford higher repayments.”


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