If it takes an annual salary of at least $40,000 to rent a hovel in this town, how much would you need to earn to own it outright? To afford yourself the dignity your grandparents and parents enjoyed? To score some capital of your own? To become a probationary member of the patrimonial middle class instead of a person who writes them checks? According to mortgage publisher HSH.com, with NYC's median home price of $388,900, you would need to make $89,788 to cover the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance on your shoebox—and that salary is after taxes.

That median home price increased by 5.6% year over year, and the salary amount necessary increased by $846.86 in a single quarter.

For more perspective: five out of the last six buyer-based storylines featured in The Hunt column had happy endings that cost $727,500; $1,600,000; $675,000; $615,000; and $1,578,000. One woman bought a one-bedroom in Crown Heights for $280,000.

The only cities surveyed by HSH that were more frightening than New York were San Diego and San Francisco, both places that never see snow.

Cleveland, the shy, sweet city whose mom always packs it dried chickpeas and the occasional Swiss Roll for lunch but who you never see a future with, turned out to be the best city for buyers: an after-tax salary of $29,788 is required to afford a home (as in, a HOUSE, with multiple floors and a yard and a key that you hide in a fake rock under the mulch) that costs $102,100.

If you're lucky enough to be pondering the jump from renting to buying, this interactive calculator from the Times is truly helpful. Or you can call up the guy at the deli and ask him to deliver an Xtra Sloppy chicken parm so you can be in the proper state of mind to re-read this Confederacy of Bachelors feature. The abyss doesn't look so dark with double the cutlet.