How Much Income Is Needed for a $600,000 Mortgage?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · July 01, 2024 · 12 minute read

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How Much Income Is Needed for a $600,000 Mortgage?

If you earn a minimum of $180,000 a year, you may be able to afford a $600,000 mortgage — as long as you don’t have any other significant debts. But the exact amount you may qualify to borrow — even if you’re in that income range or higher — may also depend on several other variables, including your credit score and down payment.

Read on for a look at how much income may be needed for a $600,000 mortgage, how income fits into the overall mortgage equation, and how lenders typically determine the mortgage amount a homebuyer can handle.

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


What Income Is Needed to Get a $600,000 Mortgage?

You might think the loan amount you’ll receive when you apply for a mortgage will be based mostly on your household income. But income is just one of several factors lenders generally consider when deciding how much someone can borrow.

The home mortgage loan a borrower can qualify for usually is based on how much the lender believes that person can reliably pay back. So the loan company will run your financials through a few different checks and calculations to come up with that number. Here are a few things lenders may look at when you apply:

Reliability of Income

Be prepared to be asked not only about your income but also how long you’ve had your job (or your business if you’re self-employed). When it comes to your income, if you want to get an idea of where you stand before you apply for a mortgage, an online home affordability calculator can help you estimate whether your income is high enough to afford a $600,000 loan. Or you might try prequalifying with one or more lenders.

Creditworthiness

Lenders will also check your credit score and credit reports to ensure that you’re financially responsible and pay your bills on time.

Down Payment Amount

Contrary to what many people believe, a 20% down payment isn’t required to get a home loan. First-time homebuyers may be able to put as little as 3% down with some lenders, or even less, depending on the type of mortgage they get. A larger down payment can help you lower your monthly payments, however, and it can show lenders you’re serious about your investment.

Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

You can also expect lenders to compare your monthly gross income to your existing monthly debts (such as credit cards and student loans) to help assess if you’ll be able to manage all your payments. This calculation is called your debt-to-income ratio. (DTI = monthly debts ÷ gross monthly income.)

What Is a Good Debt-to-Income Ratio?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) advises homeowners to work toward maintaining a DTI ratio of 36% or less. And in general, that’s the number mortgage lenders are looking for, as well. But some lenders may accept a DTI ratio of up to 43% — or even higher if the borrower can meet other criteria on certain types of loans.

What Other Factors Are Mortgage Lenders Looking For?

Here are a few formulas your lender — and you — may use to determine how much house you can afford on your income.

The 28/36 Rule

The 28/36 rule 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.

For example: If your gross annual income is $180,000, that’s $15,000 per month. So with the 28/36 rule, you could aim for a monthly mortgage payment of about $4,200 — as long as your total monthly debt (your mortgage payment plus car payment, credit cards, etc.) isn’t more than $7,200. With disciplined budgeting, you may be able to afford a $600,000 mortgage at this income level.

The 35/45 Model

Another calculation lenders might look at 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.

For example: Let’s say your gross monthly income is $20,000 and your after-tax income is about $15,000. In this scenario, you might spend between $6,750 and $7,000 per month on your debt payments and mortgage combined. This calculation allows you to spend a bit more on your mortgage payment… as long as you aren’t carrying a heavy debt load.

The 25% After-Tax Rule

If you’re nervous about keeping up with your monthly mortgage payments, this formula will give you a more conservative amount to shoot for. With this calculation, your target is to spend no more than 25% of your after-tax income on your mortgage.

Keep in mind that these calculations can give you only a rough estimate of how much you can borrow. If you want to be more certain about the overall price tag and monthly payments you can afford, it may be helpful to go through the mortgage preapproval process.

What Determines How Much House You Can Afford?

Here’s something else to consider when determining how much income is needed for a $600,000 mortgage: A house payment isn’t limited to just principal and interest. And the extra expenses that may be tacked on every month can add up fast. Let’s examine the costs covered by a monthly loan payment:

Principal

Principal is the original amount borrowed to buy the home. Each month, a portion of your payment will go toward paying down this amount.

Interest

Interest is the money you pay to the lender each month for giving you the loan. The interest rate you pay can be influenced by personal factors (such as the loan length you choose, your credit score, and your income) as well as prevailing rates in the market.

Homeowners Insurance

The cost of homeowners insurance (coverage that protects your home and other assets from various risks), also may be rolled into your monthly mortgage payment. Your lender will then pay this premium when it’s due.

Mortgage Insurance

Depending on the type of loan you get and the amount you put down on your home, you may be required to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI) or some other type of mortgage insurance policy. This insurance is designed to protect the mortgage lender if a borrower can’t make the agreed-upon loan payments.

Property Taxes

A portion of your monthly mortgage payment may also go toward the property taxes you’ll pay to your town or city.

Recommended: Home Loan Help Center

$600,000 Mortgage Breakdown Examples

The monthly payment on a $600,000 mortgage can vary based on several factors, including the length of the loan (usually 15, 20, or 30 years) and the interest rate. A mortgage calculator can give you a pretty good idea of what your payments might be. Here are some examples of how the payments for a $600,000 mortgage might break down.

30-Year Loan at 6.00% Fixed Interest Rate

Total Payment: $4,562

Principal and Interest: $3,597

Other Costs (estimated PMI, homeowners insurance, and property taxes): $965

15-Year Loan at 6.00% Fixed Interest Rate

Total Payment: $6,028

Principal and Interest: $5,063

Other Costs (estimated PMI, homeowners insurance, and property taxes): $965

30-Year Loan at 7.00% Fixed Interest Rate

Total Payment: $4,957

Principal and Interest: $3,992

Other Costs (estimated PMI, homeowners insurance, and property taxes): $965

15-Year Loan at 7.00% Fixed Interest Rate

Total Payment: $6,358

Principal and Interest: $5,393

Other Costs (estimated PMI, homeowners insurance, and property taxes): $965

Pros and Cons of a $600,000 Mortgage

According to Redfin, the median home sale price in the U.S. in March 2024 was $432,812. So if you can qualify for a mortgage that’s around $600,000, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a pretty nice home — depending on where you live.

The downside of borrowing $600,000 is that your mortgage payments could take a sizable slice out of your income every month. If you’re cutting it close and you experience an unexpected expense or temporary job loss, you may have trouble staying on track. Before moving forward with a loan of this size, you may want to speak with a financial advisor and be sure the amount fits with your budget and your other goals.

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

How Much Will You Need for a Down Payment?

A down payment is generally between 3% and 20% of the purchase price. The amount you’ll need for a down payment will depend on the cost of the home you plan to buy and the type of mortgage loan you get.

Can You Buy a $600,000 Home with No Money Down?

You may be able to get a mortgage without making a down payment if you can qualify for a government-backed loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a VA home loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans are insured by the federal government — which means the government will help pay back the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Not all lenders offer these programs, and borrowers must meet specific requirements to qualify. But if you think you may be eligible, it could be an option that’s worth looking into.

Can You Buy a $600,000 Home with a Small Down Payment?

Some private lenders will accept as little as 3% down from a first-time homebuyer on a conventional mortgage, so don’t give up if you can’t get a no-down-payment loan.

You also may want to check out the requirements for a government-backed FHA loan, which allows buyers to make a down payment as low as 3.5%. There may be a limit on how much you can borrow with an FHA loan, depending on where you buy, but the 2024 limit in higher-cost areas can be as much as $1,149,825. And in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 2024 limit is $1,724,725.

Is a $600,000 Mortgage with No Down Payment a Good Idea?

There’s no question that coming up with a down payment can be an obstacle to homeownership — especially for first-time homebuyers. And the thought of skipping that step may be appealing if it could help you get into a home faster, or allow you to hold onto your savings for renovations, an emergency fund, or other financial goals.

It’s important to remember, though, that without a down payment it can take longer to build equity in your home. And though you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance with a no-down-payment government-backed loan, you can expect to pay an upfront funding fee for a VA loan and an upfront and annual guarantee fee for a USDA mortgage. A mortgage professional can help you weigh the pros and cons of different types of mortgage loans and determine the best move for your individual circumstances.

What If You Can’t Afford a $600,000 Mortgage Even with No Down Payment?

Here are a few steps to consider if it turns out you can’t afford the payments on a $600,000 mortgage:

Pay Off Debt

If your DTI ratio needs work, you may want to suspend your home search and concentrate on paying down recurring debts like credit cards, car payments, or a personal loan. This could allow you to put more of your monthly income toward your mortgage payments.

Build Your Credit

Checking your credit reports can give you an idea of what lenders might see when they evaluate your creditworthiness. If there are any errors, you can take steps to fix them, and if you see something negative in your reports, you can work on doing better. If you use a credit-score monitoring service, you may already know what your credit score is and if it needs a boost. Conventional lenders typically look for a minimum score of 620 to 640.

Start Budgeting

Creating a budget and trimming some expenses could help you reach your debt-payment and savings goals. Remember: If you can come up with a bigger down payment, you may be able to borrow less, keep your monthly payments to a more reasonable amount, and pay less in interest over the life of the loan.

Alternatives to Conventional Mortgage Loans

If you can’t qualify for a conventional mortgage loan, you may have some alternatives to consider. Here are a few potential options:

First-time Homebuyer Programs

As mentioned above, you may qualify for a federal, state, or local first-time homebuyer program that can help lower your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. There may be limits on the type of home you can buy or a cap on the home’s cost. But you might find it’s worth doing some research, or asking a mortgage professional, to see if you’re eligible.

Rent-to-Own

Another option may be to enter into an agreement to rent-to-own a home. With this type of arrangement, you start out renting, but the landlord agrees to credit a portion of your monthly payment toward purchasing the home. This can be a good way to start working toward homeownership if you can’t qualify for the mortgage amount that you want. But it’s important to understand the downsides of the deal — including that you might lose money if you change your mind about buying the home, or if the landlord has second thoughts about selling.

Owner Financing

With owner financing, the person who’s selling the home may serve as the lender for all or part of the purchase price. Just as with a rent-to-own home, there are risks to this kind of agreement, but it can make homeownership possible if a traditional loan isn’t available.

Mortgage Tips

No matter how much you plan to borrow, buying a home is a big step. Here are a few things you may want to do to prepare:

Work Out Your Housing Budget

Remember, your housing costs won’t be limited to principal and interest. It’s important to determine how much you might pay for insurance, taxes, homeowners association dues, maintenance, and other expenses before you make the leap to homeownership.

Find the Mortgage that Best Suits Your Needs

This may include deciding whether you want a:

•   fixed vs. variable interest rate

•   conventional vs. government-backed loan

•   shorter vs. longer term loan

Get Preapproved

Going through the mortgage preapproval process with a lender can give you a better idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home. And having preapproval may give you an edge over other house hunters in a tight market.

The Takeaway

Obtaining a mortgage is just one of many steps in the homebuying process, but it’s an important one. Taking the time to do some research could keep you from getting in over your head — or locked into a loan that isn’t a good fit.

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.


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FAQ

How much income do you need to qualify for a $600,000 mortgage?

If you make at least $180,000 a year, you may be able to qualify for a $600,000 mortgage, depending on how much debt you’re carrying and other variables.

How much is a $600,000 mortgage per month?

The monthly payment for a $600,000 mortgage can vary based on several factors, including the length of the loan and the interest rate. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 7.00% interest rate could be $3,992 per month for principal and interest alone, while the principal and interest for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 7.00% interest rate could be $5,393 per month.

Can I afford a $600,000 house on a $100,000 salary?

It would be very difficult to keep up with the monthly payments or even qualify for a loan to buy a $600,000 house on a $100,000 salary — that is, unless you have additional income outside of your salary or make a very large down payment on the property.


Photo credit: iStock/LumiNola

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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.

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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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