$500,000 can buy some pretty nice houses in most Florida cities. But can you actually afford to buy a house at this purchase price?
Here’s what you need to consider before you start shopping for a $500,000 home:
What Does a $500,000 House Look Like in Different Florida Cities?
What $500,000 buys in one city differs from what $500,000 buys in another city. To give you a better idea of what $500,000 can buy you in different Florida cities, take a look at some examples that are currently on the real estate market:
$500,000 is slightly above the median listing home price in Miami of $465,200. This home is priced well above the median sold home price of $415,000.
2. Fort Lauderdale
In Fort Lauderdale, $500,000 could get you this five-bedroom, three-bathroom single-family home with 1,879 square feet. Constructed in 1974, this ranch-style home is located on a quiet cul de sac and comes with new floors, a kitchen, and bathrooms. The home also boasts a newer HVAC unit — much needed to combat the hot South Florida summers.
$500,000 is right at the median listing home price in Fort Lauderdale of $499,999, and it’s slightly above the median sold home price of $440,000.
3. West Palm Beach
In West Palm Beach, $500,000 could get you this three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home with 1,988 square feet. Built in 1992, this home is located in a country club and comes with both a golf course and water views. All the bathrooms and kitchen are updated, and there’s even a private pool for you to enjoy.
$500,000 is substantially above both the median listing home price and the median sold home price in West Palm Beach of $325,000 and $351,000, respectively.
In Tampa, $500,000 could get you this three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home with 1,804 square feet. Built in 2020, this nearly new craftsman-style home features 10-foot ceilings with crown molding throughout the living area. The kitchen comes equipped with granite countertops, beautiful cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances.
$500,000 is substantially above both the median listing home price and the median sold home price in Tampa of $355,000 and $350,000, respectively.
$500,000 is substantially above both the median listing home price and the median sold home price in St. Petersburg of $325,000.
In Sarasota, $500,000 could get you this three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home with 1,623 square feet. Built in 1956, this Florida ranch-style home features a mid-century modern style but has been recently remodeled with brand new granite countertops and appliances. Luckily, some of the original touches tastefully remain for the next owner to enjoy.
$500,000 is slightly above the median listing home price in Sarasota of $450,000 and is well above the median sold home price of $420,000.
This home features crown molding, plantation shutters, and soothing recessed lighting. There’s even enough room for a pool in the large backyard if the home buyer is looking to add one.
$500,000 is significantly above both the median listing home price and the median sold home price in Fort Myers of $325,000 and $300,000, respectively.
In Naples, $525,000 could get you this three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home with 1,493 square feet. Constructed in 1994, this one-story home features marble flooring in the living areas, custom kitchen cabinetry, custom closets, custom showers. The home also comes with a newer HVAC system and water heater.
$525,000 is below the median listing home price in Naples of $566,000 and is slightly above the median sold home price of $521,000.
In Orlando, $500,000 could get you this four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom single-family home with 2,447 square feet. Built in 1998, this two-story home comes with a newer roof, vinyl fencing, and plantation shutters. The real magic is outside, where the home features a screened-in pool complete with a separate spa.
$500,000 is substantially above both the median listing home price and the median sold home price in Orlando of $335,000 and $327,000, respectively.
How Much Do You Have To Make a Year To Afford a $500,000 House?
So based on what we’ve seen so far around the state of Florida, would you be able to afford these homes? It mostly depends on your salary.
Generally speaking, mortgage lenders say that you can afford to buy a house that’s 2.5 to 3 times greater than your annual salary. So in order to buy a $500,000 house, you would need to make at least $167,000 to meet the 2.5x income requirement.
If you’re looking to spend less of your income on your mortgage payments, then you would need to make $200,000 to meet the 3x income requirement.
Other Factors To Consider When Determining Home Affordability
It’s important to note that although income plays a large role in determining how much house you can afford, it’s not the sole factor. There are other factors that you need to consider when determining home affordability. These include but aren’t limited to your debt obligations, credit score, interest rates, property taxes, and any HOA or CDD fees.
Make sure to draw up a complete picture when looking to do a home affordability calculation: Consider your homeowner’s insurance, monthly car payments, and general monthly expenses
Debts can impact your ability to afford a house. This is because lenders use a calculation known as your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to make sure that you’re not taking on too much debt when you purchase a home.
To calculate your DTI ratio, you need to add up all your monthly debt payments, including student loans, car loans, and credit card debt. From there, you divide your total monthly debts by your gross monthly income.
So let’s say that you make $200,000 a year, which leaves you with about $16,667 a month. Then let’s say that you have student loan payments to the tune of $2,000 a month, a credit card payment of $1,000 a month, and two auto loans that total $1,000 a month. Based on these numbers, your monthly debts total $4,000 and take up nearly 24% of your income.
Lenders want to see a DTI of no more than 38% — with no more than 26% of the debt related to housing costs — leaving you with 12% leftover for other debts.
In order to qualify for a mortgage loan to purchase a $500,000 house, you should try to reduce your debts from 24% of your income to the ideal 12%. Now is the time to start paying off those credit cards, student loans, and auto loans.
2. Credit Score
Your credit score can also impact your ability to afford a house and mortgage rate. For starters, many lenders require a certain credit score to even apply for a mortgage loan. While the exact requirements vary by lender, most lenders want to see a credit score above a minimum of 620. The higher your credit score is, the better interest rates and loan terms you’ll receive.
So before you try to buy a $500,000 home, make sure that your credit score is where it should be. If it’s lower than you’d like, try paying off any debts.
If you’re not able to pay off debts completely, make sure that you’re paying the minimum credit card payments on time every month. Avoid opening new lines of credit or taking on new debt while you’re trying to boost your score.
Over time, your score should start to improve.
3. Interest Rates
Borrowing money unfortunately isn’t free, and interest can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly mortgage payments on top of the principal amount. For example, if you have a credit score above 740 and qualify for the best interest rates, you can expect to pay about 3.37% interest on a 30-year fixed-rate loan of $400,000. This leaves you with a monthly payment of $1,767, covering interest and principal.
However, if you have a lower credit score of 698 (the average), you can expect to pay about 3.805% interest on a 30-year fixed-rate loan of $400,000. This leaves you with a monthly payment of $1,864 covering interest and principal.
4. Property Taxes
In addition to interest and principal, you also have to pay property taxes on a monthly basis into an escrow account. Property taxes are levied by counties to cover public services like schools, parks, roads, fire departments, etc.
In Florida, the average annual property tax is about 1% of the home’s value. So if your house is worth $500,000, your annual property tax bill will be $5,000, which breaks down to $416 a month.
5. HOA and CDD Fees
Last but certainly not least are HOA (Homeowner's Association) and CDD fees that come with many communities in Florida.
These dues help cover the costs of community amenities like pools, tennis courts, parks, and more. CDD fees cover the costs of developing these amenities and usually last for several years after completion.
Finance Your $500,000 House With Vaster
With the right income, credit score, and down payment, you can afford to buy a $500,000 house. Add the right lender to the mix by working with Vaster.
Vaster is a private lender that offers flexible borrowing options and efficient closing timelines. Reach out to our lending experts today for more information or get started by submitting an application.