The point of this analysis and rankings is to add cost of living--including home prices--into the mix as a factor of "effective" household income.
Over at the New Geography blog, Joel Kotkin and the Praxis team rank 53 large cities for average earnings adjusted for cost of living and home values, assuming that where people are "better off" can work as a migration lure that's more powerful than income levels at their face value. Kotkin writes:
Areas that have both high-wage jobs and low costs are likely to gain momentum in coming years, particularly if the economy expands. This is not to say that people do not like the excitement and culture associated with San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York, but many may be finding that the price of admission to these fabled places may be too high.This could be a great opportunity for less-heralded communities, from Arizona and Texas to Ohio, to gain more educated workers and the companies that require them.