You Now Need to Earn Six Figures to Afford the Typical Home in the U.S.

Money; Getty Images
Money; Getty Images

Homebuyers today need to earn a lot more money than they used to in order to afford a new place to live.

To afford the $2,682 monthly mortgage payment on a typically priced U.S. home, the real estate brokerage Redfin finds that a prospective homebuyer needs to earn at least $107,281 a year. Redfin considers a mortgage payment to be affordable if it accounts for 30% or less of a homebuyer’s annual income.

That $107,000 threshold represents a jump of more than 45% from last year, when a homebuyer only needed to earn $73,668 to afford a typically priced home.

The main culprit? Mortgage rates, which soared above 7% this fall. On top of that, home prices are still rising, albeit at a slower rate than at the beginning of the year.

Of course, buyers in pricey cities need to have a lot more cash, and some cities have seen much larger increases in the income necessary for buying a home. The biggest jump from last year was in North Port, Florida, where a homebuyer needed an annual income of at least $131,535 to afford a median-priced home in October. A year earlier, they only needed $75,659.

What’s next for the housing market

“The housing market is resetting,” chief economist Danielle Hale wrote in a blog post last week, “but in a slow fashion.” Hale pointed to growing inventory, slowing price growth and the fact that homes are spending more time on the market than they did a year ago.

That’s not to mention the fact that daily mortgage rates tumbled more than half a percentage point last week on the heels of better-than-expected inflation data. But would-be buyers shouldn’t celebrate too much just yet.

Homes are still selling quickly compared to the pre-pandemic market, and there’s no guarantee that rates will keep falling. “All those factors that are propping up mortgage rates are still going to be in the ether,” Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist at Bright MLS, previously told Money.

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