While you don’t quite need a six-figure salary, it comes close.

Nashville, TN, is not just the Music City; it’s also home to a thriving real estate market that’s seen significant growth in recent years. For many, buying a home in Nashville 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 Music City or are looking to relocate to the area, here’s a breakdown of the income you’ll need to purchase your first home in Nashville.

Check out our original report for a detailed nationwide analysis.

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

The median sale price of a starter home in Nashville is $315,000. In order to afford this, first-time homebuyers in Nashville should make $98,314 per year, up 7% from 2023. However, the median income in Nashville is $91,252, meaning the typical resident often can’t afford a starter home. 

As expected, starter homes in Nashville are much 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 $124,095 (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 Nashville housing market

Nashville has seen tremendous growth recently – especially since the pandemic – as people have been looking for sunshine and affordability. In fact, the city has been among the most popular migration destinations since 2021. This influx has boosted house prices by nearly 30% since January 2021, from $335,000 to $475,000 in April 2024.

The city is home to many world-class amenities located throughout its diverse neighborhoods. Some popular neighborhoods in Nashville include East Nashville, Germantown, and Midtown. From the Parthenon and the Grand Ole Opry to Music Row and the Ryman Auditorium, there are so many great reasons to call Nashville home.

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

Here are some common down payment amounts for a typical $315,000 starter home in Nashville:

Down payment percentage Down payment amount
3% down payment $9,450
3.5% down payment $11,025
5% down payment $15,750
10% down payment $31,500
15% down payment $47,250
20% down payment $63,000

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.

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

The typical monthly mortgage payment for a starter home in Nashville is $2,458. 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 Nashville. The average rent price is $1,923, 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 Nashville, 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, a Nashville 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 defines “starter homes” as homes whose sale price fell into the 5th-35th percentile of the Redfin Estimate tier. For context, 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.

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.

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