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Affordable Housing Communities

In many affordable communities, you may see a sign or descriptive language on the application that says your income must be between 20 to 70 percent of the area median income. What does that mean?


Many of the affordable communities were built using federal funding. That federal funding has certain restrictions which limit the lowest and the highest amount of qualifying income that a resident or a family can earn annually.

Because the Washington D.C. area is a high-cost area it also means that incomes are higher in the metropolitan area than in many other areas around the country. The federal government does an annual calculation to determine the mid-point or median income of many statistical areas around the country. In the Washington Metropolitan area, in 2019, that mid-point has been calculated to be $121,300. Many residents don’t earn individual or family income that is near that median or mid-point income level.


Affordable Communities recognize that disparity and accept annual incomes that are lower than the median income, that qualify for housing.


If you see that a community is advertising that they will accept incomes between 20 to 70 percent of area median income, your annual income may meet the guidelines for qualifying to live in that community. In 2019 it means that if your income should be between:


121,300 X 20% = $24,260    and   121,300  X 70% = $84,910   


This information does not represent a specific example of affordable housing available in the Frederick area. It is only intended to explain terms and calculations you might see or read about as you look for housing in the area.

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