How to Afford a Million Dollar Home

May 28th 2024
To afford a $1,000,000 home, you need to make a minimum annual income of $200,000 to $230,000. You'll also need to have enough money saved for the down payment and closing costs, which can add up to over 20% of the purchase price. That means you should have at least $200,000 saved to be able to afford a $1 million dollar home.

There are a variety of reasons someone might want a million-dollar home in the first place. Such houses are often large and comfortable, and feature some additional amenities such as a home gym, mini-movie theater, or a luxurious patio and pool area. These homes are often secluded, offering more privacy. 

Keep reading to determine if your salary is high enough to afford a $1 million-dollar home.

hash-markTable of Contents

Salary to Afford a $1 Million Dollar Home
How Do You Buy a $1 Million Dollar House?
Typical Mortgage on a $1 Million Dollar Home?
Example Mortgages On a $1 Million Dollar Home
Affording a $1 Million Dollar Home Bottom Line

hash-markSalary to Afford a $1 Million Dollar Home

In order to afford a $1 million dollar home you will need to make a salary of roughly $220,000 per year. That comes out to an income of just above $18,000 per month. In addition to a salary of approximately $220,000, you will also need to make a hefty down payment to purchase a $1 million home. You should aim for a 20% down payment, which comes out to be over $200,000 by itself.

Additionally, you will need to have clean finances with little debt and a good credit score. 

Again, the larger your down payment, the lower your mortgage payments will be, so a lower annual income could suffice. This, however, would mean that you have enough cash sitting around to make a 50% - 60% - or even 70% down payment. On a $1 million home, that comes out to be a lot of money!

Those planning for retirement might have several hundred thousand or even millions saved up. They might be able to purchase a lovely million-dollar home and have low enough mortgage rates to keep their current job. 

If you want to buy a more expensive home, check out how to afford a $2 million house

hash-markHow Do You Buy a $1 Million Dollar House?

To purchase a $1 million dollar house, start by assessing your financial situation and ensuring you have sufficient funds for a down payment and closing costs. Consider obtaining mortgage pre-approval to determine your borrowing capacity. Research properties within your budget, engage a real estate agent, and make an offer on the desired house. Upon acceptance, complete the necessary paperwork, secure financing, and finalize the purchase through a closing process facilitated by your agent or attorney.

If you have a net worth of over a million dollars, you might be in a position to purchase a million-dollar home outright. The larger your down payment, the lower your monthly income will need to be to afford a million-dollar home.

However, most people will need to qualify for a mortgage to purchase a $1 million home. Mortgage availability for a million-dollar home depends on a variety of factors: the size of the down payment, credit scores, and the debt-to-service ratio.

hash-markTypical Mortgage on a $1 Million Dollar Home

The average monthly mortgage payment on a $1 million home is $5,100 per month, based on current interest rates. However, your mortgage payments will depend on several factors, including your credit score, down payment, term, and interest rate. Generally speaking, on a 30-year mortgage with 20% down, you can expect to pay between $4,500 to $5,600 in monthly mortgage payments on a million-dollar home. 

1. Down Payments on a $1 Million Dollar Home

It is important to remember that most conventional loans have a maximum amount that can be borrowed. The maximum amount for a conforming loan is $766,550 as of 2024, although in some specific high cost of living locations, the amount available rises up to $1,089,300 to $1,149,825. In either case, the only way to receive a conventional loan would then be to make a down payment of over $250,000 in some areas and over $500,000 in the rest. 

Since many people will stick to the average 20% down payment, they will have to qualify for a jumbo loan instead. These come with stricter requirements. 

Anything less than a 20% down payment might subject your loan to private mortgage insurance. This can be an additional cost 0.5% to 1% of the home price each year ($5,000 - $10,000).

2. Credit Score

Conventional loans look for credit scores near 620 or above. For jumbo loans, however, the minimum rises to 740. Some lenders might accept a credit score of 660 or 680 based on income, down payment, and other factors. It is safe to assume that you will need to be over 700 at the least and likely near 740 to qualify. 

3. Debt to Service Ratio

The debt to service ratio is an assessment of the buyer’s financial situation. It is a ratio of annual mortgage payments and other costs to the amount of combined annual household income. Most lenders look for ratios below 32%. 

If you and your spouse have a combined income of $250,000 and the annual mortgage payment and related costs are $75,000, then your ratio would be 30% (75,000 / 250,000). If the annual costs are $100,000, then your ratio would be 40%, and you would likely struggle to find a loan. 

hash-markExample Mortgages on a $1 Million Dollar Home

Let’s imagine you want a 1 million dollar home and can afford a 20% down payment. Based on current interest rates, your monthly payments would likely land up around $4,500 (mortgage + property tax + heating costs). This amounts to annual expenses of $54,000. 

Assuming you have a sufficient credit score, what would you need to make to meet a 32% debt-to-service ratio? You would need to make over $168,750 to meet the 32% ratio (54,000 / 168,750 = 32%). 

Now imagine that you have an additional $1,500 in monthly expenses - car loans, student loans, and other miscellaneous loans. Now your monthly payments are $6,000, and the annual expenses are $72,000. When lenders consider all your expenses, they are looking at your total debt service ratio. They are a bit more lenient when they consider these other expenses and look for ratios near 40% (32% + 8% to cover all the costs). 

In this case, you would need to make over $180,000 to meet a 40% ratio and afford a 1 million dollar home. 

These two examples are the typical baseline estimation of a mortgage for a million-dollar home. If you can afford a larger down payment, have a higher annual income, and a better financial record, you will likely make lower monthly payments and get more flexible interest rates. 

hash-markAffording a $1 Million Dollar Home Bottom Line

Since most million-dollar homes end up costing around $1.1 to $1.3 million when all the costs are considered, an annual income or salary of $220,000 is a safe bet for you and your family to be able to afford a $1 million home. As long as you have clean finances and can afford a hefty down payment, you will be well on your way to purchasing a million-dollar home!