How Much Income is Needed for a $400,000 Mortgage

By Caroline Banton · July 01, 2024 · 13 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

How Much Income is Needed for a $400,000 Mortgage

Most estimates suggest that you would need to make around $130,000 a year to qualify for a $400,000 mortgage. Considering that the latest average annual income is around $64,000, and the average home price was $513,100 in the first quarter of 2024, today’s homebuyers need an above-average income to purchase an average-priced home.

Let’s look at what factors lenders consider when qualifying you for a mortgage, what to do if you can’t afford a down payment, and what alternative financing sources are available.

How Much Do You Need to Make to Get a $400,000 Mortgage?

Assuming a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan, a down payment of 7% (on a home priced at $430,000), and an interest rate of 7.00%, you would need to earn $130,000 per year to qualify for a $400,000 mortgage. Your estimated monthly mortgage payment of $3,494 would include property taxes and insurance, among other costs. This assumes that you don’t have any other significant debts — so let’s look more closely at how debt affects your mortgage situation.

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

What Is a Good Debt-to-Income Ratio?

If you have significant debt payments each month, you will need to earn more to qualify for a mortgage because your ability to make payments may be compromised. Lenders look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes to paying your monthly debt payments, to determine your borrowing risk and your loan terms.

Lenders typically prefer that your DTI be no higher than 36% with no more than 28% to 35% of that debt going toward a mortgage payment. The lower your DTI, the less of a risk you are to a lender and the better your terms will be.

What Determines How Much House You Can Afford?

How much you earn is one factor that determines how much house you can afford. Two other factors that could be considered under your control are how much debt you are carrying and how much of a down payment you can afford. In addition, there are factors you cannot control, such as interest rates on the different types of mortgage loans, as well as house prices.

If you have significant debt payments each month, the required income for a $400,000 mortgage will go up. The interest rate offered by a lender will also affect your monthly mortgage payments. If the interest rate is 7.5%, you might need to earn more than if the interest rate is 7%.

The more you can afford as a down payment, the lower your monthly payment will be, particularly if you can put down 20% or more of the home’s price. This is because a down payment of less than 20% will result in the lender requiring you to have private mortgage insurance, or PMI. (Conventional loans are not insured by a government agency so PMI protects lenders if owners default.) A mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance will help you determine the monthly cost of owning a house, factoring in the extra costs.

Going through the mortgage preapproval process can help you get even closer to your specific numbers.

What Mortgage Lenders Look For

Lenders like borrowers who do not pose too much of a risk regarding paying back the loan. If you have a good credit score, minimal debt, and a steady income, you are exactly what they are looking for.

Your Credit Score

Making timely payments on any credit cards or loans that you have and not applying for new credit or debit cards around the time that you apply for a mortgage will help cultivate a credit score that lenders find attractive.

Your Debt

Lenders also look at your credit utilization ratio. This is an indicator of how much of your available credit you are currently using. The less you are using the better, and a ratio of under 30% is preferable. For example, if your credit card has a $15,000 limit, keep your balance at $4,500 or below.

Your credit report will indicate to a lender whether you have ever declared bankruptcy, or if you are an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.

Other Assets

A mortgage lender may also look at other assets, such as checking, savings, retirement accounts, stocks, and property. If you have such assets, the lender might consider you less of a risk because you have a way to pay the loan if you experience a financial emergency.

$400,000 Mortgage Breakdown Examples

Everyone’s financial situation is unique. Looking at examples of different down payments, debt levels, and interest rates from Fannie Mae’s mortgage calculator can help give you a sense of where you might fit in.

$400,000 30-year mortgage with 7% down payment and PMI and 7.00% interest

•   Principal and interest: $2,661

•   Taxes and insurance: $717

•   Private mortgage insurance: $207

•   Total monthly payment: $3,585

$400,000, 15-year mortgage with 7% down payment, and PMI, at 7.00% interest

•   Principal and interest: $3,594

•   Taxes and insurance: $717

•   Mortgage insurance: $207

•   Total monthly payment: $4,518

$400,000, 30-year mortgage with 20% down (no PMI), at 6.50% interest

•   Principal and interest: $2,427

•   Taxes and insurance: $800

•   Total monthly payment: $3,227

How Much Will You Need for a Down Payment?

Many lenders will give you the best interest rates if you can put 20% or more down on your home. However, some conventional loans have much lower down payment requirements.

The less you pay as a down payment, the higher your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, and the greater the risk you pose to a lender. For example, if your LTV is 90%, you have put down 10%. The lender is taking on a larger proportion of the debt than if you put down 20%, and they may require you to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) to offset the higher risk.

SoFi’s mortgage calculator shows how much you can save on your mortgage with different down payments.

Can You Buy a $400,000 Home With No Money Down?

Some mortgages require no money down for some people. For example, a VA loan through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs requires nothing down, as does a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Can You Buy a $400K Home With a Small Down Payment?

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a government-backed loan that allows you to put down very little. Loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) require as little as 3.5% down.

Is a $400,000 Mortgage With No Down Payment a Good Idea?

You will need a government-backed loan, meaning that it is insured by the federal government in case you stop paying back the loan, to get a mortgage with a zero down payment. Two examples of government-insured mortgages are those from the VA and USDA, mentioned above. Each of these types of loans have strict qualifying criteria, such as being an active-duty service member, veteran, reservist, or a surviving spouse for a VA loan, or buying a home in a rural area for a USDA loan.

If you qualify for these loans, it is a good idea to take advantage of them because they offer lower interest rates and better overall loan terms.

Recommended: The Most Affordable States

Can’t Afford a $400,000 Mortgage With No Down Payment?

The monthly payments on a $400,000 mortgage with no down payment can be high even with a government-assisted loan. Here are some suggestions to help you cover them.

Pay Off Debt

If you have high-interest debt, your DTI ratio will be high, and you will not get the best interest rate from a lender. A personal loan can be used to consolidate credit card debt and lower the interest you pay overall. A personal loan can help you pay off some of your debt quicker so that you can improve your credit rating and qualify for a mortgage with better terms.

Look Into First-Time Homebuyer Programs

If you are a first-time homebuyer, government or charity-sponsored programs and grants can lower the costs. Some programs may help with a down payment and closing costs. You may qualify as a first-time buyer if you haven’t had any form of homeownership in the last three years.

There are also various tax deductions that can help lower your taxable household income making it easier to afford your mortgage payments. Check with your state or local government to find out what government programs are available to you or go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

Take Advantage of Tax Deductions

You can save money on your taxes through various tax deductions. Federal and state deductions can lower your taxable household income. For example, for tax year 2024, the mortgage interest deduction could allow you to deduct the cost of mortgage interest paid on debt of up to $750,000 on a primary residence and one second home. Married taxpayers filing separately could deduct interest on up to $375,000 of indebtedness each. You may also qualify for mortgage credit certificates (MCCs). Your tax preparer can help you determine what you qualify for.

Care for Your Credit Score

Your credit score will have a huge impact on the terms that a lender gives you for a mortgage loan. Borrowers can cultivate a healthy credit score by using a credit card wisely. Pay off the balance each month and pay monthly bills, like utilities and rent, on time. Also, as noted above, watch your credit utilization ratio and only use up to 30% of your available credit.

Start Budgeting

If you don’t budget, you will not know how much you can afford to spend each month on housing or other expenses. When creating a budget, think about what your goals are for the next three months, the next year, and five years into the future. The cost of living in your state will be a factor in your planning, so think about whether you will be living in the same place for the long haul.

Track your take-home pay and your expenses. Then, look at areas where you can make positive changes. For example, if you eat out less each week, can you put an extra $100 into a savings account? Using a money tracker can help you keep to a budget.

Recommended: Home Loan Help Center

Alternatives to Conventional Mortgage Loans

The traditional route to buying a home is to take out a conventional mortgage with a bank. You will pay a set amount each month for the life of the loan, typically 15 to 30 years. There are alternative ways to finance a home, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of them.

Borrow from a Retirement Account

If you have significant funds in your 401(k) account or an IRA, you could withdraw them and use them to buy a home. However, if you’re under 59½ years old, you will have to pay a 10% penalty on the withdrawal and taxes on it. If you lose your job, the money has to be repaid within 60 days. Lastly, a withdrawal from a 401(k) (not a Roth IRA) is considered income and may put you in a higher tax bracket.

Borrow from Family

Some companies facilitate home loans between family members. If you choose this option, consult a lawyer and an accountant to make sure legal documents are in order and you will not be subject to the gift tax.

Borrow From an Insurance Policy

Depending on the insurance policy, you might be able to take out a loan against the principal. The cash value can be used to secure the loan, and the premiums used as the repayments. Check with a financial advisor to see how this would affect your future finances and your heirs, and to decide if this is a good option.

Find a Cosigner

Finding a cosigner might help you to qualify for a mortgage or get better loan terms.

Seller Financing

You might be able to secure a seller financing arrangement where the seller takes on the role of the bank and you make mortgage payments to them. The terms of the loan are agreed in advance. This is an option if the buyer cannot secure a conventional mortgage perhaps due to poor credit.


A rent-to-own agreement might work if a buyer has sufficient funds for a down payment. If so, the seller might agree to accept some of the monthly rent as credit for a sale. Another way this could work is if the seller ups the final sales price and all of the rental payments go toward the down payment until the final sale. There are potential downsides to this approach; seek a lawyer’s advice if you are entering into a rent-to-own agreement.

Mortgage Tips

Before you settle on a lender, research all the options available to you. For example, are you a first-time homeowner? Can you qualify for an FHA loan with a lower interest rate and down payment?

Here are some additional tips on how to qualify for a mortgage.

1. Understand the Terms

Your mortgage contract will contain lots of fees and charges in addition to the terms. Have a lawyer assist you in understanding all the details including the payment schedule, penalties for missed or late payments, and penalties for paying off the loan early. Understand whether you have an interest rate that may go up over time and how high it can go.

2. Make Timely Payments

Your credit rating depends on your making timely payments. If you don’t, not only will your credit score suffer, but you will risk foreclosure on your loan if you fall behind on the payments.

3. Avoid Additional Debt

Before you take on the responsibility of a mortgage, it’s wise to pay down your debt so that you can get the best interest rate. It’s also wise to not take on additional debt after you take on a mortgage. If you do, you might find yourself with mounting interest payments and facing bankruptcy if you cannot afford to pay your monthly bills.

4. Shop Around for Home Insurance

You will have to take out a home insurance policy. However, shop around before you choose a provider to get the best quote.

5. Know What You Can Afford

It’s better to take on a mortgage for less than you are approved. For example, if you are approved for a $400,000 loan, you could accept a loan for $300,000. That will buy you some wiggle room and make the payments less stressful.

6. Watch Your Credit Score

As you build equity in your home, at some point you might decide to refinance, particularly if interest rates drop. Refinancing allows you to restructure your debt and pull out equity as cash. If interest rates are lower, your monthly payments might be less. When you maintain a good credit score and manage your debt well, you stand a better chance of qualifying for a relatively low interest rate with a reputable lender.

The Takeaway

It’s quite likely that you will need to earn around $130,000 a year to qualify for a $400,000 mortgage. However, if you can make a large down payment and you have little debt, you are in a much better position. A lender will look at your LTI ratio when considering you for a loan as well as your credit rating. Therefore, paying off high-interest debt, making regular payments to credit cards, and paying off the balance will make you an attractive borrower to a lender.

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.


What income is needed for a $400,000 mortgage?

The income needed for a $400,000 mortgage will depend on your existing debt, your credit rating, and other assets, but in general, you’d probably need an income of around $130,000 a year to qualify. Each lender will look at different factors when assessing you as a risk.

Can I afford a $400K house with a $70,000 salary?

It would only be possible to afford a $400,000 home with a salary of $70,000 if you can put down a very large down payment. Alternatively, if you qualify for a government-backed FHA loan, you may be able to afford a $400,000 home with a 10% down payment, although you would want to have a close look at your household budget and other expenses before taking this step.

What is the average monthly payment on a $400,000 house?

The national average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.95% as of June 2024. If you bought a $400,000 house with 5% down, your monthly mortgage payment would be $3,295. That would include almost $800 per month in property taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Photo credit: iStock/skynesher

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See for more information.

*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.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender