"Not long ago 55% was the mainline figure -- that is, if your income
was $1,000 per month, mortgage lenders might have allowed you to
commit $550 to your mortgage and other debts, such as car loans and
credit card balances... That's been ratcheted back ... Now we don't
see much in excess of 43%."
The old rule in the 1970's and 1980's used to be a maximum of 30% of gross income for all mortgage and real estate tax payments plus other debts; others remember 28%, which isn't much different. That's of course when health insurance costs were much, much lower and often fully paid by your employer. Even 43% is so much more that the old maximum that it makes we wonder whether this isn't gross income in the calculation any more.