Even if the house costs $1-1.5M, if you are making the salary to afford that house, you end up ahead. The higher cost of living results in higher salaries and in the end, the person making the higher salary accumulates more assets.
Here is a simpler example, Alex and Bob both buy a car for $500/mo and both have student loans for $1000/mo. For Alex, that is only 18% of his salary. For Bob, it is 36% of his. In the end, Alex will accumulate more assets in his working life.