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See Which Sitcom Characters Would Be Able To Afford Their Apartments—According To Actual Real Estate Data

A new study from real estate blog Movoto crunches salary numbers with apartment listings to reveal which sitcom characters would be in over their heads. (Not Homer Simpson!)

Most sitcoms ultimately serve as lifestyle advertising. They present alternate worlds full of intense friendships, interesting jobs, and razor-sharp cheekbones—often occurring in spacious, miraculously affordable housing. Last year, we took a look inside the interiors some of these famous sitcom characters live in to see how they would match up with reality. Now, let's examine whether these people could actually afford to live in those places.

The team at real estate site Movoto recently crunched some numbers to fact-check Ted Mosby's digs, along with the apartments and houses of 14 other of America’s favorite TV shows. (Apparently, How I Met Your Mother's architect Mosby would be knee-deep in debt). By examining dwellings from shows like The New Girl, Seinfeld, and, of course, Friends, as well as estimated incomes from their various occupations, all using real-life city home and rental listings, the Movoto crew has found some helpful insights into the reality of fictional real estate. I for one am relieved to know now that Homer Simpson would in fact be able to keep Marge in the lifestyle she's accustomed to.

Have a look through more revelations in the slides above, or on Movoto's website.

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19 Comments

  • Tony Lin

    You seem to be calculating everything based upon Gross Income. Maybe you should calculate it based on after Tax income. Furthermore, the 30% on Rent should be on after tax income as there tends to be a lot of incidental expenses due to consumerism. Also, as your income exceeds a certain point (generally 60-70k after tax), it is fine to spend more money on rent. You also seem to be picking the high point of each person's career and calculating income from there.

  • Yeah in OBGYN working privately in New York City would probably make around 300k a year. Doctors make a lot of money, particularly private doctors catering to wealthy manhattan clientele.

  • Laura Sturk

    In Full House there were 4 adults living under 1 roof. Clearly Danny, Joey, Jesse and Rebecca would have shared bill payments.

  • IRL, in NYC, you can't even qualify for these apartments unless your monthly income is 3.33x rent. I'd like an apartment where I don't need to qualify...

  • Bork Borkington

    Don's neighbour asks him in Season 6 (1968) how much he paid for his apartment. I believe he says $75k (~$510k in 2014 dollars). In Season 5, we learn Don makes $45,000 a year (~$305k in 2014 dollars), plus a bonus.

    With 6.5% mortgages in 1968 and a norm of 20% downpayments and the then-new 20-year mortgage, Don would be paying roughly $450 a month in mortgage payments, on a gross monthly salary of $3,750 (not counting his bonus). At 12% of his monthly gross income, this is eminently affordable.

  • A construction worker makes more than an architect? in which world physicist make that much money? A police guy and a person working in a shop make 14500 per month??? Where? In Dubai?

  • Tony Lin

    Chicago is a major city, therefore salaries are higher than most and I assume that this individual is a police officer. Police Officers working for major departments with several years experience generally make around 60,000-80,000 (including money they're making by doing extra by working at stores and events). The VP in a major Department Store (think flagship store in a major city vs Macy's in nowhere USA) would likely make the low end of middle management money. So, that would be around 60,000-90,000 depending on the store. Both of these positions generally require bachelor degrees or better (for this pay range). I haven't seen Family Matters, so I can't attest to these positions/potential income.

  • Chelly Tavss

    Danny Tanner is not the only income producing adult in the Full House home - if I remember correctly, one of the reasons that Uncle Jesse and Joey came to live with them is because Danny could not afford the house alone after his wife died.

  • Patrick Roanhouse

    I agree, Danny tanner of Full house could easily afford the cost of his

    1.) Danny had Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey living there too. Uncle Jesse was a musician and sound engineer, which the later pays very well. Uncle Joey was a working stand up comedian who also had a children's television show which I'm sure brought in plenty of money. 2.) Pamela Tanner, the never seen wife except for a video, died being hit by a drunk driver. I'm sure there was also a lawsuit over the fact and a settlement or damages for leaving three children motherless. 3.) I'm sure Pamela Tanner had a life insurance policy as well 4.) The cost of a house like the one in full house in San Francisco classic painted lady houses like that in the mid 80's would have been around $450,000 - 620,000 which if they had a 250,000 life insurance policy and settlement means Danny could have bought it mostly in cash.

  • I thought they had been living there for some time, personally. And I never took into account the life insurance policy and the settlement.

  • Tony Lin

    Academic PhDs at one of the most important universities in the country with a science degree? They're working at CalTech (or the sitcom version of it) as researchers working on Grant projects. Individually, they definitely make at least 80,000-100,000 a year (this assumes they're only doing research and not teaching classes). At top universities, Associate Professors (on Tenure Track) make around 150,000 and Full Professors (on Tenure Track) make around 250,000 on average. Furthermore, the two of them are constantly portrayed in the top 5% of their field.

  • Does it take into consideration inflation? Doesn't appear so... even though there is NO WAY the folks on Friends would be able to afford those huge digs in NYC, regardless.

  • Chad Madron

    Yes, in the final episode of Friends Chandler remarks on how cheap the apartment was due to rent control and the fact it was an illegal sublet from the (DEAD!) Grandma is brought up elsewhere in the series