This is exactly how much income homebuyers are bringing to the bargaining table

How much income do homebuyers usually come to the table with?

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The median household income in America is about $68,000, according to the Census Bureau — but that may not be enough to help you buy a house these days. Indeed, even though average mortgage rates are still holding below 5% (see the lowest mortgage rates you can qualify for here) for the time being (note that pros expect them to rise), many recent buyers had six-figure incomes, according to the 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors Research Group, which polled 5,795 recent primary residence home buyers.

Half of buyers had household incomes of at least $100,000, the survey reported, while nearly 7 in 10 earned more than $75,000, the survey found. (Note that NAR also reports that “for households earning $75,000 to $100,000, there’s one affordable listing available for every 65 households – a stark decrease in availability from one affordable listing for every 24 households in 2019 for this income group.”). And the median income of homebuyers increased between 2019 and 2020, from $96,500 to $102,000, respectively. “We have consistently seen the median income increase from previous years, and we could see this continuing,” says Brandi Snowden, NAR’s director for member and consumer survey research.

Household income of home buyers

income range

Percentage of buyers

Less than $25,000

2%

$25,000 – $34,999

3%

$35,000 – $44,999

5%

$45,000 – $54,999

7%

$55,000 – $64,999

7%

$65,000 – $74,999

7%

$75,000 – $84,999

8%

$85,000 – $99,999

10%

$100,000 – $124,999

14%

$125,000 – $149,999

10%

$150,000 – $174,999

8%

$175,000 – $199,999

5%

$200,000 or more

13%

Source: National Association of Realtors Research Group

Other research puts the share of homebuyers with $100,000+ in household income slightly lower, but still high. 2021 research from Zillow found that 43% of homebuyers had annual household income of $100,000 or more, with the median household income among buyers hitting approximately $86,000. More than three-fourths of buyers in this survey had household incomes of more than $50,000.

What’s more, the amount you’ll have need to save for a downpayment has gone up as well. According to data from real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions, the median down payment on single-family homes purchased with financing in the fourth quarter of 2021 was $26,000, up 18.8% percent from the fourth quarter of 2020.

For those following the housing market, these figures may come as no surprise: Home prices increased 14.6% in 2021 to $361,700, according to NAR, and thus it may require a higher income to get on the property ladder. “Homebuyer affordability has decreased due to the quick rise in mortgage rates amidst steep home-price growth,” Edward Seiler, Mortgage Bankers Association’s associate vice president of housing economics, said in a statement. And indeed data from MBA found that the national median mortgage payment applied for by those hoping to get a mortgage was $1,653 in February, up from $1,526 in January, $1,383 in December 2021, and $1,316 in February 2021. (See the lowest mortgage rates you can qualify for here.)

You may be looking at your income, and wondering how much you can afford to spend on a house. Know that it’s not just a calculation about income or downpayment. Indeed, according to research from NerdWallet, the No. 1 reason people are denied a mortgage is because of their debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which compares how much you owe each month to how much you earn. The ideal DTI is 36% or lower and can be tallied up by adding your monthly payments like mortgage, student loans, credit card payments and other debts and dividing that number by your gross monthly income.

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