And just where are these places? For high-tech workers, Seattle is a sweet spot. Health care workers might want to take a look at Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Boston. Finance workers need to investigate Charlotte, Chicago, and Dallas.
"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,” she said, “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 and found 'sweet spots' -- places with great job markets and housing markets that will leave some cash at the end of the month."
She said 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.
On the West Coast housing affordability is the worst in the nation. Renters and homeowners 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. Over the past decade, housing prices in coastal markets have shot up, in large part due to demand from workers following high-paying jobs,
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the findings is that tech workers do okay 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, due to lower salaries there.
Despite the high cost of living in some areas, there are still a few places where living expenses do not consume all of a person’s income. "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, 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."