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AMI: What Does it Mean for Homebuyers?

If you have any interest in owning a home or if you’ve been looking into real-estate, you’ve probably seen ‘AMI’ referred to often. AMI is an abbreviation for ‘area median income,’ this is a statistic by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for purposes of determining the eligibility of applicants for certain federal housing programs.

The area median income is calculated on an annual basis for each metropolitan area and non-metropolitan county, making adjustments for household size and other factors. Different housing programs use different percentages of AMI, such as 30 percent of AMI or 80 percent of AMI as maximum income limits for admission. Many state and localities have adopted HUD’s income limits for their own programs, or use a variation on the HUD limits for example, 120 percent of AMI.

In the United States as a whole, the AMI for a household of four is around $60,000 per year. In the 9 counties that make up the Bay Area the AMI is so high, a family of four with an income of $117,400 is considered low income. What does this mean for the first-time home buyer? Buying in the Bay Area is more difficult than ever. With a few thousand well-paid tech workers moving in and driving up the AMI, qualifying for assistance is easy, but receiving that assistance is difficult — and it’s not just those that want to buy. Even renters are challenged, the wait time for a low-income apartment can be up to 64 months in some cases.

While these statistics may overwhelm you, don’t fear, please reach out to us at  or call 510-237-6459. Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services is committed to Changing the Narrative of Homeownership, as well as Changing the Narrative of wealth; by providing tools offer other life-changing financial milestones.


Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (510) 237-6459
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