How much home can you afford with an $85,000 per year salary?

If I Make $85,000 A Year What Mortgage Can I Afford?

If I Make $85,000 A Year What Mortgage Can I Afford?

You can afford a home up to $380,000 with a mortgage of $366,700.

This assumes an FHA at 3.5% down, low debts, good credit, and a rate of 6%, and a total debt-to-income ratio of 50%.

Keep in mind that there are many factors that affect this number, including property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, whether the home is in an HOA, your credit score, and more. Apply with a lender to find your personalized maximum home price.

See what you can afford with an $85k salary.

Home affordability by monthly debt payments

Your debt level affects your buying power perhaps more than anything else.

For instance, say you have $750 in monthly debt such as student loans and credit card payments. At a salary of $85,000 per year, adding a $500-per-month auto payment would reduce your maximum home price by $90,000. 

Lenders can approve you to use up to about half your gross monthly income toward debt payments. That’s roughly $3,500 for an annual salary of $85,000. About 40% of your gross income ($2,800) can be used for the house payment leaving about 10% for other debts.

Yearly income$85,000
Monthly income$7,083
Max house payment (40%)$2,800
Max total debt payments (50%)$3,500

In mortgage-speak, that’s a 40% front-end debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and a 50% back-end DTI. Borrowers with good credit can be approved with higher ratios, but to be safe we are using these numbers.

Following is what you might qualify for depending on your current debt load.

Annual IncomeMonthly DebtMax PaymentHome Price

*Assumes an FHA loan at 3.5% down and 6% interest rate, $300/mo property taxes and $75/mo insurance, FHA mortgage insurance, no HOA. Your rate and costs will vary.

Related: Buying a Home With Zero Down Payment

Maximum home price by down payment

Your down payment dramatically affects affordability.

For one, your loan balance drops with a higher down payment, resulting in a lower payment. Additionally, you pay less mortgage insurance when you put more down.

Annual IncomeDown PaymentMonthly PaymentHome Price

*Assumes an FHA loan at 3.5% down or conventional loan with 5-20% down, 6% interest rate, $300/mo property taxes and $75/mo insurance, standard mortgage insurance for the loan type at 720 credit score, no HOA. Your rate and costs will vary.

No down payment? Many programs let you buy a home without one. Start here.

Maximum home price by interest rate

Interest rate is another significant determiner of your maximum home price. If rates drop, it’s a great time to enter your home search.

Annual IncomeInterest RateMonthly PaymentHome Price

*Assumes an FHA loan at 3.5% down, up to $750/mo debt payments, $300/mo property taxes and $75/mo insurance, FHA mortgage insurance, no HOA, 50% backend DTI. Your rate and costs will vary.

Maximum home price by desired debt-to-income level

While many financial gurus suggest you should have a debt-to-income of 25% or less, it’s just not realistic in most markets. Pushing your DTI from 25% to 45% increases your buying power by over $150,000 at an income of $85,000.

Annual IncomeDTIMax PaymentHome Price

*Assumes an FHA loan at 3.5% down, 6% rate, no debts for 25% and 35% scenarios, $300/mo property taxes and $75/mo insurance, FHA mortgage insurance, no HOA. Your rate and costs will vary.

Ways to increase your buying power

If you’re struggling to find a home that you can qualify for, there are ways to increase your 

Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): As seen above, reducing your rate from 6% to 5% can increase your buying power by $40,000 at your income level. An ARM rate eventually adjusts but starts off fixed for at least 3-5 years. That’s a lot of time to refinance or increase your income to afford a potentially higher payment later.

Don’t buy a home in an HOA. Homeowner association dues can be hundreds of dollars per month. Dues add to your DTI which limits your buying power.

Make a bigger down payment or get gift funds. The lower your mortgage balance, the lower your payment will be. Try to find a down payment assistance program or get a gift from family to reduce your loan amount.

Use an FHA loan. These tend to be most lenient on debt-to-income ratios. Conventional loans limit you to about 45% DTI including all debts and housing payment (50% in select cases). FHA’s max is 46.9% front-end DTI and 56.9% back-end.

Pay off debt: Paying off a $500 car payment can increase your buying power by $90,000.


If I make $85,000 per year what mortgage can I afford?

Depending on your existing debts, you may be able to afford a $380,000 home with an FHA loan. Your exact amount depends on your debts, interest rate, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA dues, loan program, and payment comfort level.

Should I pay off debt before I buy a home?

Reducing your debt payments by $500 per month can increase your maximum home price by about $90,000 if you make $85,000 per year. Paying off debt will help you qualify for a better home that will suit your needs longer.

Do you need good credit to buy a home at $85k salary?

You don’t need a high credit score. An FHA loan requires just a 580 score and allows for high debt-to-income ratios. However, a higher credit score will help you qualify for a larger loan.

$85,000 income isn’t too low to buy a house.

You may have been told that you can’t afford a home on $85,000 per year. But if you’re creative and are committed to becoming a homeowner, you can very likely make it happen.

See if you are eligible to buy a home.


  • Tim Lucas

    Tim Lucas will refrain from putting super cool stuff here to impress you. Ok maybe he won't refrain. He spent 11 years in the mortgage industry helping mortgage clients IRL, from first-time buyers to experienced investors. He purchased his first home at 26 with just $1,100 out-of-pocket and now owns real estate worth $2.4 million. Tim was the managing editor at national websites,, and Tim has been featured in publications such as Time, U.S. News, MSN, and more. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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