I Make $90,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

By Jamie Cattanach · February 08, 2024 · 8 minute read

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I Make $90,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

Earning $90,000 a year puts you in a good position to afford a home priced at around $350,000, as long as you don’t already have significant other debts to pay. That’s good news considering the U.S. average home value these days is just above $342,000. But there are many variables in play that could adjust your budget up or down. Let’s examine them to get closer to your personal housing budget number.

What Kind of House Can I Afford With $90K a Year?

Congratulations! At $90,000 a year, your salary is almost $15,000 higher than the American median household income. It makes sense that you’ve set your sights on homeownership. Making $90,000 per year may feel like a lot of money … or not so much, depending on whether you live in an affordable place. The question is less about how much house you can afford than how much you can afford to spend on housing each month.

There’s a basic rule of thumb that you should spend no more than a third of your gross income (i.e., income before taxes) on housing. (Ideally, you’d spend closer to about a quarter.) So someone earning $90,000 per year, can reasonably afford to spend between $22,500 and $29,700 on housing each year — which translates to between $1,875 and $2,475 per month.

That’s a substantial enough chunk of change to cover many mortgage payments. For example, if you took out a home mortgage loan of $310,000 at an interest rate of 7%, your monthly payment might be around $2,060, which falls into your affordable range. (This assumes you make a down payment of $40,000 on a home priced at $350,000.)

However, more factors than your income affect what size loan mortgage lenders will qualify you for — and more factors than the price of the house itself affect whether or not you can afford it.

💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage loan. When you buy a home, SoFi offers a guarantee that your loan will close on time. Backed by a $5,000 credit.‡

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

What is Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) — and Why Does It Matter?

Let’s take a second to talk about DTI, or debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI is, as its name suggests, a ratio of how much debt you currently have to how much income you make. It’s calculated by dividing your debts by your gross monthly income, and it’s one of the factors lenders consider when qualifying you for a home loan.

If you’re in a lot of debt — meaning your DTI is higher — it may be harder for you to qualify for a mortgage, no matter how much money you make. Inversely, if your DTI is lower, that’s a favorable mark even if you’re not making huge amounts of money.

Consider how much debt you currently carry before applying for a home loan. If you’re already paying off a car, student loan, credit card balance or all of the above, you may want to work on dialing down your debt; even if you qualify for a mortgage, your interest rate might be higher as a result.

Factoring in Your Down Payment

Along with your DTI and income, mortgage lenders also consider how much money you’re able to pay toward a home up front — otherwise known as your down payment. Although a larger down payment might not significantly shift your monthly payment, it can have an effect on the amount a lender is willing to offer you. (Having a significant amount of money available for a down payment can be a favorable marker for lenders.)

That said, it can take a long time to save up a substantial down payment, even for those earning good income — and you may be sacrificing the opportunity to build equity in the short term if you wait to buy a house.

In any case, remember that responsible homeownership will require a well-set savings habit. (After all, your new home is going to need repairs—and you won’t be able to just call your landlord anymore!)

How to Afford More House With Down Payment Assistance

For many would-be homebuyers — especially first-time homebuyers — the process of saving a downpayment is the single largest obstacle to owning a home. Fortunately, down payment assistance programs offer one way for buyers to give themselves a leg up. Offered through government agencies and nonprofits, down payment assistance programs offer very-low-cost loans or grants that can amplify whatever you’ve already saved up for a down payment.

There are often requirements in order to qualify, such as not out-earning a certain income threshold or having less than a given amount of liquid assets available. Still, these programs can bridge the gap for many first-time buyers trying to leap the down-payment hurdle into homeownership.

Other Factors That Affect Your Ability to Afford a Home

Along with your DTI, the size of your down payment, and the size of the loan you’re hoping to take out, your credit score — and credit history in general — has an impact on your housing budget. Even if you earn good money, a poor credit score may keep you from qualifying for a mortgage, and a score that is fair but not great may push your interest rate higher than it would otherwise be.

Additionally, lenders are interested not only in how much you make, but the stability of your capacity to earn that money. That means they’ll consider not only your job, but how long you’ve had it; most like to see a steady job history of two years. That said, it may still be possible to qualify for a home loan if your job is new to you if you’ve had consistent income over that time, especially if your other markers are favorable.

How to Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

To get the best sense of how much you can afford, consider trying an online mortgage calculator, or home affordability calculator, which will allow you to plug in all of your specific metrics and see how much of a mortgage you’re likely to qualify for (and the size of the associated monthly payment). Keep in mind that your mortgage is just the start. When you buy a house, you’ll also be responsible for any maintenance and upkeep, not to mention property taxes, utility costs, furnishings, and more.

Speaking to a lender is another great way to understand in depth how much house you’re likely to be able to afford based on their algorithm and your specific financial standing.

💡 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.†

Home Affordability Examples

Let’s say you earn $90,000 per year and are interested in buying a house that costs $400,000. You’ve saved up $30,000 for a down payment (7.5% of the purchase price of this home), and you have a credit score of 750.

With interest rates around 7%, as they’ve been lately, your monthly payment for such a home would likely be at or above $3,200—in part because, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll need to pay for mortgage insurance, which is an additional monthly cost. That’s substantially more than a third of your gross income at $90,000, so it’s probably not a good idea.

So let’s say you take your $30,000 down payment and look at a significantly cheaper home, perhaps in a significantly cheaper state. This one costs $250,000. In that case, with everything else the same, you’d likely pay less than $2,000 per month, which is a comfortable amount for your income level.

Remember that if your credit score and income trend upward after you purchase a home, and you want to improve your mortgage loan terms, you can always look into a mortgage refinance.

How Your Monthly Payment Affects Your Price Range

As you can see, your monthly payment has a huge effect on the price range of the home you’re comfortably able to afford. Although $90,000 per year may seem like a lot of income (and is, at a national level), it may not translate to being able to afford a very large or costly home.

Types of Home Loans Available to Households with $90,000 in Income

Good news: There are many different types of mortgage loans available to those who earn $90,000. Along with conventional loans from private lenders, you may also be eligible for government-subsidized loans like VA loans, FHA loans, or USDA loans, all of which can lower the qualifying requirements and make the home loan process easier for first-time homebuyers.

The Takeaway

Although $90,000 is a large income, especially for a single person, it doesn’t translate to an unlimited home-buying budget. Aside from income, your credit history, DTI, and available down payment amount also have a significant impact on how much mortgage lenders will be willing to offer you.

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.


Is $90K a good salary for a single person?

A salary of $90,000 is substantially higher than the national median household income, so yes, it’s a good salary for a single person. Exactly how good depends on where you live, as the cost of living varies significantly across the U.S.

What is a comfortable income for a single person?

“Comfortable” is relative! While one person may be comfortable sharing a home with multiple roommates, others might require more space or greater luxuries to feel satisfied. Personal finance is just that—personal—and only you can decide how much income you need to be truly comfortable.

What is a liveable wage in 2024?

The living wage changes substantially based on the cost of living where you live. For example, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, $14.54 per hour is a living wage for a single adult with no children in Pocatello, Idaho, but that figure goes up to $21.58 in Portland, Oregon.

What salary is considered rich for a single person?

While “rich” is relative, the top 5% of people in America earned more than $335,000 in 2021 according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. However, depending on where you live, $90,000 may feel rich — or not. Cost of living has a major impact.

Photo credit: iStock/andreswd

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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.

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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.
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.
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