Buying real estate can be really tough for those just barely surviving on whatever income they make. There are a lot of costs that come with owning your own home that go above and beyond the purchase price of a home. Luckily, there are some options for those looking into ways of finding affordable housing.

Affordable housing is available in pretty much every city and you can apply for it if you qualify. The term affordable housing is used when describing rented or purchased dwelling units in which the total housing costs are considered affordable to individuals with a median household income. While those looking into the option of affordable housing might not be able to shop for luxury properties they can still come home to a pretty nice piece of real estate because of affordable housing.

Determining what is or isn't affordable in the world of housing is different in every country and can also be a tad complex to figure out. For instance, in Canada and the United States, housing affordability is described as not being more than 30% of the household's gross income. If monthly costs associated with a home exceed the 30-35% range of the household income then that is deemed unaffordable.

It's also difficult to determine what should comprise of monthly household costs. Taxes, home owners insurance, furnishings, rent, maintenance, and utility costs are a few of the factors that go into determining total household costs but what about other monthly costs? If you go over your finances to see how much you pay now for household costs and find that it's too much then you might be able to qualify for some sort of affordable housing program or homeownership assistance program.

In the United States the first place you should check out is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (see They run rental assistance programs and homeownership assistance programs that will help those in need put a roof over their head, while doing so affordably. The assistance that you can apply for and be approved for will mainly depend on your current financial situation, especially what you can afford to pay and how much income you are earning. In Canada you can apply for affordable housing options such as low-income housing through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, also known as CMHC.

If you're unsure of how much you can afford to spend you can always do a rough calculation based on your total gross income and any monthly expenses you have such as credit card debt or student loans. Once you have that information you can see if qualify or not for affordable housing that could assist you with your current property or move you into a new affordable housing unit.

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