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I Make $65,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

By Alene Laney · February 08, 2024 · 9 minute read

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I Make $65,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

On a salary of $65,000 per year, as long as you have very little debt, you can afford a house priced at around $175,000 with a monthly payment of $1,517 with no down payment. This number assumes a 6% interest rate and a standard debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 36%. Your homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and private mortgage insurance would be included in your monthly payment.

But there are many factors that go into home affordability beyond your $65,000 salary. Let’s take a look at how they play in concert with one another.

What Kind of House Can I Afford With $65K a Year?

Not everyone who earns $65,000 will have the same housing budget. You may qualify for a larger (or smaller) home mortgage loan, depending on a number of qualifications. These include:

•   Your DTI ratio

•   How much your down payment is

•   The cost of taxes and insurance where you live

•   What interest rate you qualify for

•   What type of loan you’re getting

•   If your lender is willing to underwrite a higher DTI level

When all is said and done, earning $65,000 may qualify some people for a home priced as high as $250,000. And if you’re buying with a partner who also has income, that changes the picture as well. You’ll need to understand how the factors on the list above affect what kind of loan you qualify for.



💡 Quick Tip: A VA loan can make home buying simple for qualified borrowers. Because the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, you could skip a down payment. Plus, you could qualify for lower interest rates, enjoy lower closing costs, and even bypass mortgage insurance.†

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


Understanding Debt-to-income Ratio

Your DTI ratio, quite simply, is all your monthly debt payments added together and then divided by your monthly income. If you have a lot of debt, the ratio is high. If you don’t carry a lot of debt, the ratio is low. When you’re trying to get a loan, the lower, the better.

What lenders look for is your ability to repay a mortgage. Every debt that you carry and need to repay each month takes away from what you could be putting toward a mortgage. That’s why they aim for a DTI less than 36%. It is conservative, but it ensures the borrower can meet their obligations.

For a $65,000 annual income with a monthly income of $5,416, a DTI of 36% works out to be $1,950. Your mortgage payment and all of your monthly debts, such as credit card payments, student loans, and car payments should fit within the $1,950 budget.

How to Factor in Your Down Payment

A down payment can increase home affordability in a big way. The more you’re able to put down, the higher purchase price you can qualify for. This is true especially for down payments over 20%. If you have the ability to put down that much on a home, you don’t have to pay for mortgage insurance each month, which qualifies you for a higher-priced home.

SoFi’s mortgage calculator is helpful for seeing how a down payment can affect your monthly payment and how much house you can afford.

Factors That Affect Home Affordability

A number of factors beyond your down payment and DTI ratio affect how much home you’ll be able to afford. You’ll want to take a close look at:

•   Interest rates Lower interest rates qualify you for a higher purchase price on a home. This is why borrowers seek out a mortgage refinance when rates are low. This is also why you’ll want to take great care of your credit score.

•   Credit score When your credit score is stellar, you’ll qualify for the lowest interest rates your lender can offer. This will save you a significant amount of money over the life of a loan, not to mention help you qualify for a higher mortgage. Paying less in interest means you can pay more for a home.

•   Taxes, insurance and homeowners association dues Your lender will take these numbers into account when determining how much they can lend you.

•   Loan type How much house you can afford can depend on the loan type.

•   Lender Your lender can help with home affordability. Some lenders make it possible to qualify for a higher mortgage by increasing the allowable DTI ratio — in certain cases it can be as high as as 50%.

•   Location If you’re really looking for home affordability, you might want to consider a more affordable area. Check out a list of the best affordable places to live in the U.S.

Recommended: The Cost of Living by State

How to Afford More House With Down Payment Assistance

Another of the tips to help you qualify for a mortgage: A down payment assistance (DPA) program could help you afford more house. DPAs assist with the down payment or closing costs associated with buying a home. Sometimes they come as a grant you don’t have to ever repay, and sometimes they’re underwritten as a second mortgage that may or may not need to be repaid (depending on the program).

You’ll see DPAs offered by housing authorities, either at the state or local level. You may need to be a first-time homebuyer or qualify with lower income to take advantage of these programs.

How to Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

There are some generally accepted guidelines that can help you get an idea of the amount of mortgage you’ll be able to qualify for.

The 28/36 Rule: This rule states that your home payment should not be more than 28% of your income and your total debts should not exceed 36% of your income. It’s also known as the front-end (28%) and back-end ratio (36%).

Front-end ratio (28%): At 28% of your income, a monthly housing payment from a monthly income of $5,416 should be no more than $1,517 ($5,416*.28).

Back-end ratio (36%): At 36% of your income, your debt-to-income ratio on a monthly income at $5,416, should be no more than $1,950 ($5,416*.36).

The 35/45 Rule: If your lender is more flexible, they may instead follow the 35/45 ratio, which allows for a higher mortgage payment. It’s just like the 28/36 rule, but this one allows your housing payment to be 35% of your monthly income. Your debt-to-income ratio can be as high as 45%. With a monthly income of $5,416, the housing allowance (35% of your income) increases to $1,895 and the total monthly debts (45% of your income) increases to $2,437.

If you want to skip the manual calculations, you can always use a home affordability calculator.



💡 Quick Tip: Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA loans provide those with a fair credit score the opportunity to buy a home. They’re a great option for first-time homebuyers.1

Home Affordability Examples

Making $65,000 a year gives you around $5,416 of monthly income, but there’s a lot of varying situations. Some people have car loans, student loans, or credit card debt. Each of these affect home affordability. Your lender’s job is to help you afford a mortgage and still meet all your monthly debt obligations.

In these examples, we use the 36% debt-to-income ratio to determine payments and home affordability. (Keep in mind that your lender may be able to qualify you for a higher amount if they’re willing to accept a higher debt load.) For each example, taxes ($2,500), insurance ($1,000), and APR (6%) remain the same for a 30-year loan term.

Example #1: Some Debt, High Down Payment

Monthly credit card debt: $50
Monthly car payment: $300
Student loan payment: $200
Total debt = $550

Down payment = $20,000

Maximum DTI ratio = $5,416 * .36 = $1,950
Maximum mortgage payment = $1,400 ($1,950 – $550)

Home affordability = $180,000

Example #2: Thrifty Saver

Monthly credit card debt: $0
Monthly car payment: $0
Student loan payment: $200
Total debt = $200

Down payment: $20,000

Maximum DTI ratio = $5,416 * .36 = $1,950
Maximum mortgage payment = $1,750 ($1,950 – $200)

Home budget = $197,000

How Your Monthly Payment Affects Your Price Range

The monthly payment you’re able to qualify for directly affects how big a mortgage you can get. With a lot of monthly debt payments, it might be tough to qualify for the home you want. Interest rates also play a huge role in what your monthly payment is going to be. Even after you’ve bought a home, you’ll want to take care of your credit so you can refinance into a lower rate when interest rates drop.

Recommended: Home Loan Help Center

Types of Home Loans Available to $65K Households

Different types of mortgage loans can affect home affordability. This is due to the fact that they have different interest rates and different requirements for down payments, mortgage insurance, and creditworthiness.

•   FHA loans Federal Housing Administration loans come with required mortgage insurance, but if you have a situation where you need credit flexibility, FHA is the way to go. FHA loans allow for credit scores as low as 500, though you’ll still need to find a lender that’s willing to work with you.

•   USDA loans United States Department of Agriculture loans offer no-down-payment options and competitive APRs—but only for those who live in the right areas. They’re specifically for rural communities, but there may be some areas near you that qualify.

•   Conventional loans Conventional financing is usually one of the least expensive in terms of financing costs, but your finances need to be in order to qualify.

•   VA loans Like USDA loans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans have no-down-payment options, flexible credit requirements, and the lowest interest rates out there. If you’re a qualified servicemember or veteran, you’ll generally want to go with a VA loan because they’re so much better than the other options.

The Takeaway

Affording a home in this market is tough no matter what salary you make. If you make $65,000 a year, you’re earning more than the average single. Yet you may still have a few steps to take before you can afford a home: Think about paying down debt as this makes a big impact on how much home you can afford. Also think about making moves to improve your credit score, find down payment assistance programs, or locate a lender who can work with your situation. With the right moves, a home is within reach on a $65,000 salary.

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 $65K a good salary for a single person?

A $65,000 salary is above the median income of $56,929 for a single person, according to data from the U.S. Census. While you might be doing better than most singles in terms of salary, whether you feel comfortable will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits.

What is a comfortable income for a single person?

A comfortable income for a single person is determined by your lifestyle. For some, $40,000 is plenty. For others, $200,000 is not enough.

What is a liveable wage in 2024?

For a single person in San Francisco, a living wage works out to be $26.63 per hour, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Living Wage Calculator. In Pennsylvania, a single person could get by on $16.41. However, for a family with three kids that depends on a single earner in Dallas, Texas, the living wage is $43.65 per hour.

What salary is considered rich for a single person?

According to the IRS, an income of $540,009 puts you in the top 1% of all earners.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

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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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