- People commonly move forward with home-buying plans in their 30s.
- It's important to take on a mortgage you can afford to pay off without stress.
Is it a number you can afford?
For many people, homeownership just isn't attainable during their 20s. During that decade of life, people are often focused on building up a career, paying off debt, and getting a handle on adulthood.
But a lot of people do end up buying a house once they reach their 30s. At that point, they commonly feel more settled in their careers and may have a better sense of where they want to call home on a long-term basis.
If you're looking to buy a home in your 30s, it's important to get a mortgage that's affordable. (To be fair, this applies to home buyers at any age, and not just 30-somethings.) But you may also be curious as to what other people your age are borrowing to finance a home.
Personal Capital reports that the average mortgage balance among people in their 30s is $337,526. Now at first glance, that might seem like a large number. But let's remember that in the early stages of paying off a mortgage, only a small amount of your payments go toward your loan's principal. And given that home prices have been rising (especially lately), that average balance isn't so surprising.
How much of a mortgage can you afford?
The average person in their 30s might owe $337,526 on a home loan. But that doesn't mean that's a sum you should borrow.
As a general rule, your monthly housing payments shouldn't take up more than 30% of your paycheck. So, let's say you bring home $5,000 a month after taxes and deductions from your wages. In that case, you should limit your housing costs to $1,500. And by "housing costs," we're talking about more than just a mortgage payment. Rather, that includes all predictable monthly housing expenses, including things like:
- Property taxes
- Homeowners insurance
- Private mortgage insurance, if you're required to pay it
- HOA fees, if they apply to you
It's a good idea to run some numbers before looking at homes to buy so you can see what mortgage you can afford to take out. Of course, you'll also need to make sure you can qualify for the home loan you're looking for. That's why it's best to actually get pre-approved for a mortgage when you're ready to begin house-hunting. Pre-approval won't guarantee you a mortgage, but it will give you a sense of how much you qualify to borrow.
What if you can't afford as much as the average 30-something?
It may be that your home-buying budget isn't as robust as the typical person your age. But that's okay.
It may be helpful to know what people in their 30s are borrowing in a mortgage loan, but that doesn't mean you should use that information to guide your personal decisions. Instead, you'll need to look at your own finances to determine how much to spend.
Housing costs in your area will be a factor, too. If you're planning to buy in a city where the average starter home costs $900,000, then you may need a mortgage that's higher than $337,526. Similarly, if the typical home in your target area costs $300,000, then you clearly shouldn't need to borrow as much as the average 30-something.
Ultimately, that $337,526 may be an interesting piece of data to have. But don't let it influence your home-buying decisions in any way.
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