How Much House Can I Afford?

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Affordability for a house depends on several factors and varies greatly by location. Here’s a breakdown to give you a general idea:

Factors impacting affordability:

  • Income: This is the most crucial factor. The higher your income, the more house you can potentially afford.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): This ratio compares your monthly debt payments (including future housing costs) to your gross monthly income. Aim for a DTI below 36%, with some lenders allowing up to 43% in specific situations.
  • Down Payment: A larger down payment significantly reduces the amount you need to borrow and lowers your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Interest Rate: The interest rate on your mortgage significantly impacts your monthly payment. Lower rates mean you can afford more house.
  • Property Taxes and Homeowners Insurance: These ongoing costs add to your monthly housing expense. They can vary significantly by location.

Rules of thumb (for informational purposes only):

  • 28/36 rule: This common guideline suggests spending no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (including mortgage, property taxes, and homeowners insurance) and no more than 36% on total debt (including housing payment and other debts).

Resources to estimate affordability:

Online Mortgage Calculators: These let you input your income, estimated down payment, and desired loan term to see an estimated monthly payment:

Mortgage Pre-Approval: Getting pre-approved allows you to know exactly how much a lender is willing to loan you.

General affordability range (with caution):

While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact range, nationally, a person making a median household income (for example around $67,500) and following the 28/36 rule might generally afford a house in the range of $250,000 to $400,000 (depending on other factors). However, this is a very broad estimate and location can significantly impact affordability.


  • Affordability is highly dependent on your specific situation.
  • These are just estimates – getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a more accurate idea of what you can afford.
  • It’s wise to be conservative with your estimates. Unexpected costs can arise, and you don’t want to be house poor (spending a majority of your income on housing).

For a more specific answer: