Buying a house can be exciting, but you need to know what monthly mortgage payment you can afford. The average mortgage payment depends on the price range of homes you're considering, your down payment and the interest rate.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average price for a new home sold in the United States in 2009 was $270,900. But that's not the amount you'll borrow. You usually pay some money up front---a down payment. You may have $100,000 to use for a down payment, so your mortgage payment will be based on borrowing $170,900. You may only have $40,000, in which case your mortgage payment will be based on borrowing $230,900. You will also have costs related to purchasing the house and borrowing the mortgage money that will affect your monthly payments.
Your mortgage payment depends on the interest rate and the length of mortgage you choose. You can get a temporary low-interest rate for a short period---an adjustable-rate mortgage or a balloon mortgage. You can also opt for a slightly higher permanent rate for the duration of your mortgage---a fixed-rate mortgage.
Most banks and financial institutions offer a mortgage calculator. You enter the amount you will borrow and select the mortgage length; the calculator will figure out your monthly payment. If you borrow the full amount for a mortgage on a $270,900 home, at a fixed rate of 4.25 percent for 30 years, your monthly payment will be $1,333.