It's why people need to know beforehand how much they could borrow – dependent on income – and how much mortgage repayments will be on different types/sizes of mortgages.
Put simply, the job you have is likely to decide the type of home you can afford.
To this end, here at reallymoving we've looked at what percentage of homes people can afford by job and location.
By analysing UK salaries and property prices, we have calculated what proportion of homes people in certain jobs could afford, broken down by city.
In order to create our 'home and mortgage affordability' charts, we combined data from three sources (ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Land Registry Paid Price Data and reallymoving.com data and analysis) to produce a simple illustration of homes in selected major UK cities that people working full time in 12 popular jobs could afford.
The major cities we focused on were Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Manchester and Glasgow, to ensure that we got as great a sweep of the UK as possible.
The 12 occupations we focused on were chief executive, doctor, train driver, police officer, teacher, social worker, nurse, bricklayer, car mechanic, taxi driver, sales assistant and bar employee.
We worked on the assumption that people have a deposit equal to six months gross salary, and a mortgage of 4.5 times gross salary.
Incomes, meanwhile, were based on median average full-time salaries for each job and location.
The findings are very revealing...
In the capital, for example, chief executives would be able to afford 80% of the homes on offer, with doctors not far behind on 61%.
After this, though, the prospects of affordability for the other occupations are much, much bleaker.
Train drivers would be able to afford 25% of the homes in the capital, while for police officers and teachers it's 14% and 13% respectively.
This falls even further for the remaining occupations: social workers (6%), nurses (7%), bricklayers (3%), car mechanics (2%), taxi drivers (2%), sales assistants (1%) and bar staff (1%).
Unsurprisingly, the more well-off you are, the greater your chances of buying a home in London. For those in middle-income or lower-paid jobs, the task is almost impossible.
Manchester is much more affordable for all occupations, with chief executives (97%), doctors (96%), train drivers (87%) and police officers (76%) all finding affordable housing easy to come by.
The percentage of properties that teachers (73%), social workers (64%) and nurses (57%) could afford is also much, much higher, although lower-paid positions such as sales assistants (14%) and bar workers still struggle (4%).
In Scotland, Glasgow proves affordable for nearly all of the occupations we looked at.
Taxi drivers could afford 54% of home on offer, rising to 62% for bricklayers and 65% for car mechanics.
CEOs, doctors and train drivers could afford more than 90% of homes, police officers and teachers more than 80% and social workers and nurses more than 70%.
Sales assistants and bar staff also have a better chance, up to 21% and 14% respectively.
The Welsh capital, on the other hand, is more evenly split, with the better paying professions being able to afford a far greater percentage of homes than the lesser-paid ones.
CEOs, doctors and train drivers again fare very well, as do police officers, teachers and social workers (to a lesser extent).
However, nurses, bricklayers, car mechanics and taxi drivers are left lagging behind somewhat, while the affordability prospects for sales assistants and bar staff are poor (13% and 9% respectively).
The UK's second city – which, like Manchester, is seen as far more affordable than London – is also quite top heavy.
CEOs, doctors and train drivers in Birmingham could all afford a high percentage of homes, while police officers (68%) and teachers (60%) don't fare too badly.
All of the other occupations are below 50%, with bricklayers (26%), car mechanics (26%) and taxi drivers (23%) having very little wriggle room on affordability. The situation is even more bleak for sales assistants (4%) and bar staff (2%).
Meanwhile, the picture looks rosier for nearly all occupations in Belfast, where the chances of nurses (65%) and social workers (63%) affording a home are good.
The situation also isn't completely terrible for bricklayers and car mechanics (both 45%). Once again, the outlook for the five best-paid professions is excellent, while the two lowest-paid professions lag well behind.
Looking at the results by profession, it's clear that chief executives – as you might expect – lead the way when it comes to the number of homes they can afford in each city.
They scored 94% or more in every city other than London, and even in the capital CEOs have an 80% chance of affording a home.
Doctors, another highly-paid profession, also scored more than 90% in every city except the capital. In London, they were the only profession that was even close to CEOs in the percentage of homes they could afford.
Train drivers, meanwhile, have a very good chance of affording a home if they live outside of London, something that is also the case for police officers and, to a slightly lesser extent, teachers.
For social workers, Glasgow, Belfast and Manchester offer the most hope, while Birmingham and (much more so) London are best avoided. It's a similar story for nurses, who will find affording a home in London nigh on impossible, but have a better chance in the Northern Irish capital or Scotland's second city.
Glasgow is also the only real place that offers bricklayers a decent chance of affording a home, ditto car mechanics. For taxi drivers, the chances of affording a home in any of the cities we focused on are slim, but Glasgow is again the only city that offers them some hope (with 54% of properties they can afford).
For the lowest-paid positions – sales assistants and bar staff – the situation looks is not very promising across the board. Again, Glasgow offers the most hope – but the chances of people in these jobs finding any affordable housing is slim.
If you would like to estimate how much you could borrow, or how much your monthly mortgage repayments could be, please visit our mortgage section.
For further details on the data sources and numbers behind these charts, check out our house and mortgage affordability analysis page.