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I Make $300,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · February 12, 2024 · 11 minute read

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I Make $300,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

Even if you’re paying a student loan or car loan, a $300,000 annual income means you can likely afford a home priced around $925,000. An income of $300,000 a year is more than four times the U.S. median household income of $74,580, so it gives you a good head start. But there are several other variables that could affect your ability to purchase the home you want — including your down payment and credit history, current interest rates, and the location you want to be in. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of the factors that affect how much of a mortgage you can manage.

What Kind of House Can I Afford on a $300,000 Annual Income?

You can get a better idea of how much house you can afford on your $300,000 income by using an online mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance or by prequalifying with one or more lenders for a home mortgage loan. Or you can run the numbers yourself using a formula lenders often consider. The 28/36 rule says your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your monthly gross income, and your total monthly debt, including your mortgage payment, shouldn’t be more than 36% of your income.

Whether that’s doable in a housing market in which both home prices and interest rates remain stubbornly high may depend on several factors, including home values in your specific area and the different types of mortgage loans for which you can qualify. One of the most important factors is your debt-to-income ratio.


💡 Quick Tip: One answer to rising house prices is a jumbo loan. Apply for a jumbo loan online with SoFi, and you could finance up to $2.5 million with as little as 10% down. Get preapproved and you’ll be prepared to compete in a hot market.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


Understanding Debt-to-Income Ratio

You can expect lenders to take a close look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) — the second number in the 28/36 rule — when they’re deciding how much mortgage you can afford. It tells them how you’re handling your current debt, and if you can take on more.

Your DTI is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income. Mortgage lenders generally look for a DTI of 36% or less; but depending on the lender and the type of home loan you’re hoping to get, you may be able to qualify with a DTI up to 43% or even 50%.

Typically, the lower your DTI, the better your borrowing options. So to get the optimum loan amount, and the best rate and terms, you’ll want to keep an eye on this number.

How Your Down Payment Affects Your Costs

You may not need a big down payment to qualify for a home loan. But the more you can comfortably put down on a house, the less you’ll have to borrow, which can help lower your monthly payments. A higher down payment also could get you a lower interest rate. And if you put down at least 20%, you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will further reduce your payments.

Other Factors that Can Affect Affordability

You can expect your income, debt, and down payment to play a major part in determining how much house you can afford. But these factors also can impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage that’s manageable, including:

Interest Rates

Qualifying for a lower mortgage interest rate can help you reduce your monthly mortgage payment — and the amount you’ll pay for your home over time. Though rates may seem fairly consistent from one lender to the next, banks do compete for customers. So you may be able to improve your rate — at least a little bit — if you do some comparison shopping. You also can help your chances of qualifying for a better rate by ensuring that your finances are in good shape and that you have a solid credit score.

Loan Term

Depending on the type of mortgage you choose, you may be able to choose the length of your home loan, so it’s good to know the pros and cons of each. If you’re choosing between a 15-year vs. a 30-year mortgage, for example, the shorter term may offer a less expensive interest rate, which could save you money over the life of your loan. But a 30-year term, which is the most common mortgage length, generally will have lower monthly payments.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance premiums can be an important consideration as you plan your purchase. If you live in an area that’s considered “high-risk,” the cost — which is based in part on your home’s value — could be significant. Your costs also could increase if you need additional coverage, such as a flood or earthquake policy.

Most lenders require borrowers to have an adequate amount of coverage, so understanding how to buy homeowners insurance and comparing the policies and premiums can help you cut this expense.

Property Taxes

Property taxes, which are generally based on the assessed value of a home, are often included in a borrower’s monthly mortgage payment. The percentage you’ll be assessed can differ from state to state, and even county to county, so it’s important to include this amount whenever you calculate the affordability of a potential home purchase.

HOA Fees

Before you decide to buy a home, it’s a good idea to see if the community is governed by a homeowners association (HOA) and, if so, what the fees might be. Though the average is about $250 per month, fees can go as high as $2,500 per month or more.

Location

Home prices are typically higher in cities vs. rural areas, and the overall cost of living can vary by state. It also can be more expensive to purchase a home in a popular or established neighborhood, or in a well-rated school district.

Recommended: Best Affordable Places to Live in the U.S.

How Down Payment Assistance Can Help with Home Affordability

At $300,000 in yearly income, you likely have the means to manage a higher monthly payment but you need some help with your down payment. It’s worth looking for a down payment assistance program that can help.

Though many assistance programs set limits on how much an eligible home can cost, or on the homebuyer’s income, it may be worth researching what’s available — especially if you live in a state with higher home prices. In California, for example, where the average home value is currently $743,435, there are counties where a first-time homebuyer with a $300,000 income still may qualify for assistance.

Home Affordability Examples

An online home affordability calculator can give you an idea of how much house you can afford on your income. All you have to do is plug in some basic information about your salary, savings, debt, and the home you hope to buy. Here are some hypothetical examples:

Example #1: Saver with Some Debt

Though Jan has been working for several years, she’s still paying off some student debt. She also has a car payment, and she uses a couple of credit cards that she usually pays off each month.

Gross annual income: $300,000
Amount available for down payment: $70,000
Monthly debt: $1,500
Mortgage rate: 6.5%
Property tax rate: 1.125%
House budget: $990,000

Example #2: Spends Less, But Also Saved Less

Ian’s car and student loans are paid off (thanks Mom and Dad!), and he doesn’t put much on his credit cards. He and Jan have similar credit ratings, and they’re looking in the same area. But Ian hasn’t managed to save as much for a down payment, which might affect what he can afford.

Gross annual income: $300,000
Amount available for down payment: $30,000
Monthly debt: $800
Mortgage rate: 6.5
Property tax rate: 1.125%
House budget: $925,000

3 Ways You Can Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

Along with using an online calculator to figure out how much house you might be able to afford on a $300,000 income, you also can run the numbers on your own. Some different calculations include:

The 28/36 Rule

We’ve already covered the 28/36 rule, which combines two factors that lenders typically look at to determine home affordability: income and debt. The first number sets a limit of 28% of gross income as a homebuyer’s maximum total mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. The second number limits the mortgage payment plus any other debts to no more than 36% of gross income.

Here’s an example: If your gross annual income is $300,000, that’s $25,000 per month. So with the 28/36 rule, you could aim for a monthly mortgage payment of about $7,000 — as long as your total debt (including car payment, credit cards, etc.) isn’t more than $9,000 per month.

The 35/45 Model

Another DIY calculation is the 35/45 method, which recommends spending no more than 35% of your gross income on your mortgage and debt, and no more than 45% of your after-tax income on your mortgage and debt.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your gross monthly income is $25,000 and your after-tax income is about $18,500. In this scenario, you might spend between $8,325 and $8,750 per month on your debt payments and mortgage combined. This calculation can offer a bit more flexibility with the amount of your mortgage payment, as long as you aren’t overburdened with other types of debt.


💡 Quick Tip: Lowering your monthly payments with a mortgage refinance from SoFi can help you find money to pay down other debt, build your rainy-day fund, or put more into your 401(k).

The 25% After-Tax Rule

If you’re worried about reining in your spending, or you have other goals you’re working toward, this calculation may be useful, because it offers a more conservative result. With this method, your target is to spend no more than 25% of your after-tax income on your mortgage.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you make $18,500 a month after taxes. With this method, you would plan to spend $4,625 on your mortgage payments.

Keep in mind that these equations can only give you a rough idea of how much you can spend. When you want to be more definite about the home price and monthly payments you can afford, it helps to go through the mortgage preapproval process.

How Your Monthly Payment Impacts the Loan You Can Manage

Some homebuyers may prioritize the overall price of a home or the interest rate they can get. But it’s how those factors and others combine to raise or reduce the monthly payments that may ultimately determine whether you can afford the home or not.Before signing on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to run the numbers on an online mortgage calculator to be confident you won’t stretch yourself too thin.

If you do find yourself struggling a bit — perhaps because your income changes or some other unexpected life change occurs — a mortgage refinance might help you lower your monthly payment (especially if interest rates drop).

Types of Home Loans Available to $300,000 Households

A $300,000 income can help a buyer qualify for multiple mortgage options, including conventional or jumbo loans. But it also could make you ineligible for a government-backed loan that has income limits. There also may be limits on the purchase price and type of property you hope to purchase, depending on the mortgage you get.

Here are a few of the options available to $300,000-income households:

Conventional Loans

A conventional loan is issued by a private lender, such as a bank, credit union or other financial institution. There are two types of conventional loans:

•   A conforming loan must abide by Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) standards that apply to a borrower’s credit, debt load, and the loan size. (For 2024, the conforming loan limit is $766,550 in most areas and $1,149,825 in higher-cost areas.)

•   Nonconforming loans are loans that don’t meet one or more of the federal standards. A jumbo loan, though technically a conventional loan, is considered nonconforming because it exceeds the loan limit.

Government-Backed Loans

A government-backed mortgage is a home loan that’s insured by an agency of the federal government. There are three main types of government-backed loans:

•   FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and you may be able to qualify for this type of loan even if you have a lower credit score or a lower down payment. There are no limits on how much you can earn and get an FHA loan, but there are limits on how much you can borrow depending on where you plan to reside.

•   VA loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, are for eligible members of the U.S. military and surviving spouses. There are no income limits for VA loan buyers, and there are no longer standard loan limits on VA direct or VA-backed home loans.

Recommended: 2024 Home Loan Help Center

The Takeaway

There are several factors that can go into determining how much home you can afford. Besides your income, you can expect lenders to look at your credit, your debt, and your down payment to decide how much you can borrow.

To find a loan and monthly payment that’s a good fit for you, it’s a good idea to research and compare different loan types and amounts. And, if you have questions, you can always seek advice from a qualified mortgage professional.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Is $300,000 a good salary for a single person?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 11.5% of households earned $200,000 or more in 2022. So if you’re earning $300,000 all on your own, your salary isn’t just good, it’s great.

What is a comfortable income for a single person?

“Comfortable” varies widely from one person to the next but one way to feel comfortable is to set financial goals and then chip away at achieving them.

What is a livable wage in 2024?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator calculates living costs across the U.S., and the “livable wage” varies widely based on family size and location. For a single person with no children in Honolulu County, Hawaii, for instance, the living wage is $22.76 per hour. In Marion County, Alabama, it’s $14.80 per hour.

What salary is considered rich for a single person?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 2021, the top 5% of earners made, on average, $335,891. (If you consider only the top 1% to be “rich,” you’d have to earn $819,324 or more.)


Photo credit: iStock/svetikd

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*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
Veterans, Service members, and members of the National Guard or Reserve may be eligible for a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by VA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. VA loans typically require a one-time funding fee except as may be exempted by VA guidelines. The fee may be financed or paid at closing. The amount of the fee depends on the type of loan, the total amount of the loan, and, depending on loan type, prior use of VA eligibility and down payment amount. The VA funding fee is typically non-refundable. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.

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