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Realtor: Middle class now needs $120K income to afford average home

By Jake Beardslee · January 15, 2024

In brief…

  • Realtor says that $120K salary now needed for middle class lifestyle due to high home prices
  • Debt burdens like student loans keeping many millennials and Gen Zers from affording a home
  • Smith has gained insight into financial struggles from thousands of TikTok followers
  • Younger generations may redefine American Dream away from home ownership and lifelong careers
  • High costs for housing, childcare, and debt squeezing middle class
According to Orlando realtor Freddie Smith, younger generations can no longer afford the traditional middle-class American Dream due to high housing costs and burdensome debt.  Monstera Production/Pexels

According to Orlando realtor and TikTok creator Freddie Smith, the typical American middle-class lifestyle is now only attainable for those making $120,000 per year or more. This is largely due to skyrocketing home prices across the nation.

As Smith told Fox News Digital, “With the average cost of a house being around $400K-$420K in 2024, people’s salaries would need to be around $120K a year for people to even qualify.” This is compared to just a few years ago, when salaries of $60-$70K were sufficient to purchase a home.

The stagnating middle class is segmented, says Smith, based on individuals’ debt burdens. “If you bought your house before 2020 and you have it paid off or you have a 3% interest rate, you are not burdened by the housing costs like the 2024 adults are now,” he explained. High costs for housing, childcare, and student loan debt are putting homeownership out of reach for many millennials and Gen Zers.

Smith has gained insight into Americans’ financial struggles from the thousands commenting on his TikTok videos. “People in America, real society, are sharing all this with me. And I’m learning at a rapid pace from all different individuals,” he said.

The TikToker sees younger generations redefining the American Dream away from home ownership and lifelong careers. “I don’t even know if millennials and Gen Zers want to follow that path of buying a house and living in it for 40 years and staying at the same job for 40 years. I don’t think creatively, work-life balance wise, is also what our long-term play is,” stated Smith.