Awesome. I’ve always wanted something like this: a city by city map of affordable housing, indexed to local wages. But wait, there’s more!

This map combines both housing and transportation costs. The result is maybe a bit surprising. In-city areas tend to look pretty good, while far-flung suburbs—where you get a lot of square footage (and lawnage) for your money—don’t look so good at all. It makes a little clearer the tradeoff between floor space and travel costs, which tend to be higher than buyers imagine. Especially these days.

In the maps below, the pale areas show places where housing + transportation are 45 percent or less of median income. It’s higher than 45 percent—and therefore not “affordable” by this definition—in the blue areas.

seattle afford 5Over at Slog, Erica Barnett went to all the trouble of posting screen captures of the greater Seattle area. So I’m shamelessly reusing them here. (Okay, I’m feeling a little ashamed, but I’m pressed for time. You’ll find the rest of them below the jump.) And if you don’t live in Seattle, never fear, you can find a housing + transportation affordability index for every major US urban area. The only other city in the Northwest, however, is Portland.

It’s a project of the Brookings Institution in partnership with some other organizations. I haven’t carefully vetted the assumptions or anything like that—and I don’t intend to in the near future—but you can read more about the project here, and you can find the methodology here.

More maps of the Seattle area’s affordability below.

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Here’s Seattle’s center city area, including downtown, the Central District, the International District, and surrounding areas.


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This is just north of the Ship Canal in Seattle, centering on the Univeristy District, with Greenlake on the left there and Laurelhurst in the bottom right corner.


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Here’s a look at the Lake Sammamish area along the I-90 corridor. The pale patch is downtown Issaquah.


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And finally, here’s a look at Maple Valley, Black Diamond, and some other areas in the suburbuan-exurban territory.