Newly released data shows what income is needed to buy an Atlanta area house. Do you make enough?

ATLANTA — A look at the metro Atlanta area housing cost shows the latest income requirements to buy a house.

At three price levels analyzed by real estate company Zillow, income and mortgage rate were compared to see what you need to earn to afford a house, and how big of a down payment you may need to make.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a typical down payment for first-time home buyers in 2022 was 6%, while it was 17% for repeat buyers.

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Depending on which cost tier you choose to pursue, Zillow reported that with the current mortgage rate, a bottom tier home buyer would need to earn about $86,000 to buy a home with a 5% down payment.

At 10%, the same buyer would need to earn $82,000, and at the high percentage of a 20% down payment, a potential buyer would need to earn just $68,000 per year to purchase a bottom-tier priced home at the current mortgage rate.

As of Thursday, the most recent 30-year mortgage rate for a fixed-rate mortgage was 7.22%, down by 0.07% since last week, but up almost three-quarters of a percent since 2022, according to federally-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac.

At higher price tiers, the necessary income to snatch up a new house is also higher for Atlanta’s prospective home buyers.

Going back to the 5% down payment level, in a middle-tier price for a house, the current mortgage rate means you’ll need to earn at least $121,000 to buy a home, according to Zillow. Additional data from the real estate company showed that for a similarly priced home, putting a 10% down payment on the books would mean you’ll need to earn $116,000 for a purchase to be affordable.

For those able to put down a 20% payment when buying a house in the Atlanta area, a middle-tier priced home requires an income of $96,000.

At the final level, top-tier pricing, a 5% down payment for a home requires an income at $191,000 per year to afford the cost of the mortgage at the current rate. For a 10% down payment, potential buyers would need to earn $182,000 at minimum, while a 20% down payment means buyers must earn at least $152,000 to get keys in doors.


Zillow said the current market is hitting both buyers and sellers due to the higher mortgage rates.

“Zillow research has shown homeowners with mortgage rates below 5% are nearly twice as likely to want to hang onto their current home. The further we get from that 5% mark, the deeper the inventory deficit may become,” the company said.

For those looking to move from renting to buying, using a 10% down payment at a median household income would require earnings of $107,000 per year for an affordable home, or one that requires up to 30% of your income to pay for, according to Zillow.

A household is considered cost-burdened if they spend more than 30% of their earnings on rent or housing payments each year. Zillow said if mortgage rates rise to 8%, it could push needed income for an Atlanta resident to as much as $162,000 per year for a top-tier priced home, if including a 20% down payment.

By comparison, a mid-tier home with an 8% mortgage rate would require earnings around $103,000, while a bottom-tier pricing would need you to earn $73,000 at that same 8% rate.

Still, the real estate company said it isn’t certain that the rates will actually rise to 8%.

“The safest bet is that rates will remain volatile, and that they will stay high for the foreseeable future. Whether that means 6%, 7% or 8% is anyone’s guess, but there’s no reason to expect a significant drop anytime soon,” Zillow said.

According to Zillow, here’s how the Atlanta area’s housing market looks:

  • Home values were flat from August to September. At the same time in 2019, monthly growth was 0.1%.
  • Typical home values are $376,250, up 1.5% from last year.
  • The share of Zillow listings with a price cut is 26.6%, compared to 25.7% in August.
  • Homes are on the market a median of 18 days before sellers accept an offer, 2 days longer than in August.

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