Income Needed to Buy Your First Home in Austin – Redfin Blog

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Even in a softer local market, you still need to make well above $100,000.

Austin, TX, is a city rich in culture, events, outdoor recreation, and incredible cuisine. In addition to being a popular place to live, Austin is also home to a fairly competitive real estate market that’s seen significant change in recent years.

For many, buying a home in Austin is a dream come true, but it’s also important to know how it will impact your finances. From down payments to monthly mortgage payments, there’s a lot to understand before buying your first home 

So whether you already live in ATX or are looking to relocate to the area, here’s a breakdown of the income you’ll need to purchase your first home in Austin.

Check out our original report for a detailed nationwide analysis.

How much income do you need to buy a starter home in Austin?

The median sale price of a starter home in Austin is $330,000. In order to afford this, first-time homebuyers in Austin should make $118,201 per year, up 0.7% from 2023. However, the median income in Austin is $104,076, meaning the typical resident often can’t afford a starter home.

As expected, starter homes in Austin are more affordable than the average home (all price brackets combined; see methodology for details). In order to afford any median-priced home in the area, you’ll need to make $126,208 (as of October 2023). 

Nationwide, you need an income of $75,849 to afford a typical starter home, which costs an average of $240,000. The average U.S. household earns an estimated $84,072.

First-time homebuyers’ guide to the Austin housing market

Austin’s housing market has gone through ups and downs in the past four years, with rapid growth followed by sharp declines. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the city was one of the most popular migration destinations for coastal homebuyers searching for sunshine and affordability. In fact, the city was the outright most popular metro for relocating homebuyers at the end of 2020, which continued into 2021. This remarkable popularity boosted house prices by over $200,000 from January 2021 to May 2022. 

However, this rapid rise priced some people out of the market and caused house prices to fall. People also stopped looking to move into the city, and by the end of 2023, Austin lost homebuyers for the first time on record. 

As of April 2024, house prices are sitting at $550,000, a 17.8% drop from their May 2022 peak. The Austin-San Antonio metropolitan area is still expected to grow to 8.3 million people by 2050.

The capital of Texas is home to many amenities and attractions throughout its neighborhoods, like the Bullock Texas State History Museum, Barton Springs Pool, and Castle Hill. Some popular neighborhoods in Austin include Crestview, Allandale, and South Congress.

What does a typical down payment look like for a starter home in Austin?

Here are some common down payment amounts for a typical $330,000 starter home in Austin:

Down payment percentage Down payment amount
3% down payment $9,900
3.5% down payment $11,550
5% down payment $16,500
10% down payment $33,000
15% down payment $49,500
20% down payment $66,000

Down payments can range from 0% to 100% of the total house price, depending on your budget, loan type, and long-term priorities. While experts have historically recommended budgeting for a 20% down payment, the increasing cost of homes and continued sluggish wage increases has led to a 15% down payment becoming more common. 

Some loan types allow for lower down payment amounts. For example, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan requires just 3.5% down, while the lowest possible down payment for a conventional loan is 3%. These amounts typically depend on your credit scores, so buyers with higher credit scores may qualify for lower down payments.

Houston, Texas house with white fence

What is the typical mortgage payment for a starter home in Austin?

The typical monthly mortgage payment for a starter home in Austin is $2,955. This assumes you put 3.5% down and have around a 7% interest rate.

If this payment sounds too high, you could consider renting an apartment in Austin. The average rent price is $2,216, possibly making it a better option while you save for a down payment on a house. You can also use an affordability calculator to see what you can afford based on your income and down payment.

What should you do next?

If you’re in the market for your first home in Austin, it’s important to understand how much house you can afford. Take your annual income, credit score, the current mortgage rates, and local market trends to make a decision that works best for you.

From there, an Austin agent can help you navigate the entire home buying process and provide valuable local expertise. To learn more about how to buy a home, check out Redfin’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide.


Redfin divides all U.S. properties into five buckets based on Redfin Estimates of homes’ market values. There are three equal-sized tiers, as well as tiers for the bottom 5% and top 5% of the market. Redfin defines “starter homes” as homes whose sale price fell into the 5th-35th percentile of the Redfin Estimate tier. 

We calculated the annual income needed to afford a starter home by assuming a buyer spends no more than 30% of their income on housing payments. Housing payments are calculated assuming the buyer made a 3.5% down payment and also take a month’s median sale price and average mortgage-interest rate into account. 

The national income data is adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. 2024 income is estimated based on projections from the U.S. Census Bureau’s (ACS) 2022 median household income using the 12-month moving average nominal wage growth rate. The rate was compiled from the Current Population Survey and reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

We assume housing payments include the mortgage principal, interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance (when applicable).

All data sourced February 2024 unless otherwise stated.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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