How Much Income Is Needed for a $900,000 Mortgage?

By Kevin Brouillard · May 21, 2024 · 9 minute read

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How Much Income Is Needed for a $900,000 Mortgage?

An income of around $260,000 a year could allow you to afford a $900,000 mortgage, assuming you don’t have other significant debt, such as student loans. But a variety of factors determine how much house you can afford, including how much you have saved for a down payment and your credit history, to name two. The income needed for a $900K mortgage also comes down to the loan term, and interest rate.

Here’s a closer look at the variables that impact how much house you can afford.

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


Income Needed for a $900,000 Mortgage

How much income is needed for a $900K mortgage loan? Though mortgages don’t carry specific income requirements, you’ll need to show that you can afford closing costs (typically 2% to 6% of the home sale price), and the down payment.

Of course lenders also look at your income to assess if you can afford monthly mortgage payments over the life of the loan. Crunching the numbers with a home affordability calculator shows that the income needed for a home valued at $1,000,000 with a down payment of $100,000 is about $260,000. Note that multiple forms of income, such as dividends from investments, can count toward your gross income.

In many parts of the United States, a mortgage exceeding $766,550 is considered a jumbo loan. These larger mortgages typically have stricter lender requirements because they are nonconforming loans, meaning they’re not guaranteed by the government in the event of default.

So if you’re in the market for a $900,000 jumbo loan, you may need to put at least 10% down. Let’s suppose you qualify for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 7% interest rate. Using a mortgage calculator, the monthly payment comes out to about $6,000 if you put 10%, or $100,000, toward a down payment on a property that costs $1,000,000.

Following the 28/36 rule, your home payments should be at or below 28% of your income. Total debt payments, including your mortgage payment, shouldn’t exceed 36% of your income. Using the example above, you’d need to earn $21,666 a month ($260,000 a year) to afford a $6,000 mortgage while still following the 28% guideline.

What Is a Good Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is calculated by dividing all your fixed monthly debts — like student loans or auto loans — by your gross monthly income. For a jumbo loan, a strong DTI ratio is essential to qualifying. Having a DTI ratio of 43% or less is recommended, though lenders may want to see a ratio as low as 36%.

What Determines How Much House You Can Afford?

A variety of factors determine how much house you can afford. So far, we’ve covered income, debt, and debt-to-income ratio. Additionally, your credit score and the amount you have saved for a down payment will impact your homebuying budget if financing a home purchase. If you have less saved for a down payment, you’ll need to demonstrate a strong credit history and that you can manage higher monthly payments.

Location plays a role in home affordability. A $900,000 mortgage goes a long way in the most affordable states. In pricier markets, a $900,000 mortgage can still open the door to homeownership, but with significantly less square footage.

Home affordability also varies between different types of mortgage loans. Certain government-backed loans let buyers put less money down, but this may mean being subject to private mortgage insurance.

Recommended: Cost of Living by State

What Mortgage Lenders Look For

What do you need to qualify for a $900,000 mortgage? Lenders look at a variety of factors when evaluating a borrower and setting the loan terms during the mortgage preapproval process. In terms of income, lenders prefer borrowers who have stable and predictable income. They’ll also consider your credit history, existing debt, down payment amount, and assets.

$900,000 Mortgage Breakdown Examples

A monthly payment on a $900K mortgage can vary widely depending on the type of mortgage and loan terms. Using a mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance included can give you a more exact estimate of your expected mortgage costs.

For example, suppose you secure a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 6% interest rate. With a 10%, or $100,000, down payment, you’d have a total monthly payment (principal, interest, insurance, and taxes) of $6,604.

Increasing the down payment to 20% would cut the monthly payment to $6,000. Whereas a jump in interest to 6.5% would bump up the monthly payment to $6,264.

In the 20% down payment scenario, which has the lowest monthly payment, you’d need to earn $21,666 a month ($260,000 a year) to satisfy the 28/36 rule. Again, this assumes that you don’t have significant other debts to pay each month.

Pros and Cons of a $900,000 Mortgage

Financing a larger home purchase has its advantages and drawbacks. A $900K mortgage can mean more funds for renovations and other financial goals.

On the other hand, a jumbo loan or larger mortgage is usually tougher to qualify for. In the case of a jumbo loan, rates could be higher since this loan type isn’t guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. And with a larger loan, you’ll see higher monthly payments and closing costs.

How Much Will You Need for a Down Payment?

Borrowers can expect to put 10% – 20% toward a down payment on a $900,000 mortgage. This amounts to $100,000 – $200,000, and doesn’t include closing costs. Certain government-backed loans can allow a smaller down payment, but borrowing $900,000 is only possible in designated high-cost areas.

Can You Buy a $900K Home With No Money Down?

You could buy a $900K home with no money down through a USDA loan or VA loan. However, getting a $900,000 USDA loan is only possible in a small selection of counties. The maximum amount for 2024 is $919,800 in designated high-cost areas.

Similarly, the limit on VA loans is below $900,000 in most U.S. counties. But some high-cost counties have maximum loan amounts of up to $1,149,825.

Can You Buy a $900K Home With a Small Down Payment?

If you don’t qualify for a USDA loan or VA loan, there are other options to consider. An FHA loan is a government-backed loan that only requires a down payment of 3.5% for borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher. Unless you live in a high-cost area or purchase a multi-unit property, the FHA loan limit is capped below $900,000.

The limit for high-cost areas is $1,089,300 for a single-family home. Homebuyers in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands could go up to $1,633,950 with a FHA loan.

With a conventional, fixed-rate loan, certain borrowers can put as little as 3% – 5% down on a home purchase.

Is a $900K Mortgage with No Down Payment a Good Idea?

Buyers who lack savings but have steady income and strong credit might consider a mortgage with no down payment. Putting less down means borrowing more, and in turn, paying more interest over the life of the loan. You’ll also be starting out with zero home equity if you don’t put any money down. When you put less than 20% down, you’re typically also on the hook for paying private mortgage insurance.

Keep in mind that if your credit score and financial situation change after you purchase your home, you can always consider a mortgage refinance to land more favorable mortgage loan terms.

Can’t Afford a $900K Mortgage With No Down Payment?

If you can’t afford the higher monthly payments on a $900K mortgage with no down payment, there are steps you can take to improve your qualifications as a borrower.

Pay Off Debt

Tackling debt can improve your DTI ratio, effectively increasing your homebuying budget. Focusing on recurring debt that you can pay off in full in the near-term, such as credit cards or a personal loan, can deliver more immediate results.

Look into First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Are you a first-time homebuyer? If so, you could be eligible for down payment assistance to make homebuying more affordable. FHA loans allow qualified first time buyers to put just 3.5% down on a home. It’s also possible to finance your closing costs with an FHA loan.

Recommended: Finding Down Payment Assistance Programs

Cultivate Your Credit

Keeping your credit utilization — the percentage of credit you’re using on credit cards and other lines of credit — below 30%, if possible, can reflect well on your credit score. Payment history is also a significant component of your credit score. Ensure you’re making minimum monthly payments on any revolving credit every month.

Start Budgeting

After crunching the numbers on homebuying costs, setting up a budget can help you pay off debt or save up for a down payment. Budgeting is also a useful exercise for understanding how much you can reasonably afford in monthly mortgage payments.

Alternatives to Conventional Mortgage Loans

Homebuyers can consult a home loan help center to learn about other financing ideas, and may want to explore other means for buying a home besides conventional mortgages and government-backed loans.

•   Jumbo loans: Many lenders provide these mortgage loans, which exceed the maximum dollar limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

•   Interest-only mortgages: Here, borrowers make smaller, interest-only monthly payments for a set period before having to cover principal and interest.

•   Balloon mortgage: Borrowers make low monthly payments for a short period of time before the entire loan balance comes due at the end of the term.

Mortgage Tips

A $900,000 mortgage is a big responsibility so before you wade into the mortgage market, make sure you understand some tips to qualify for a mortgage, such as understanding the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Shop around and get prequalified with a number of different lenders to begin to understand what rates you might qualify for. These are just two of the many tips for shopping for mortgage rates.

The Takeaway

The income needed for a $900,000 mortgage depends on your personal finances and the type of home loan. Increasing your down payment, reducing recurring debt, and keeping up good credit habits could up your homebuying budget and help you land a lower interest rate.

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

What income do you need for a $900,000 mortgage?

To afford a $900,000 mortgage, you’ll need to make $260,000 or more a year. Buyers with more money saved for a down payment could still qualify while earning less.

How much do I need to make for a $800K house?

You need to make at least $200,000 a year to comfortably afford a $800K house, assuming you don’t have significant recurring debt.

Can you buy a house with a $40K salary?

You can afford a house priced around $100,000 – $110,000 on a $40K salary. This assumes you have some money for a down payment and are not carrying significant debt, such as a student loan or auto loan.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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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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