Also found in: Idioms.
Describing an individual with significant income, but with such a large mortgage on his/her house that he/she has little discretionary income. Historically, this term referred to farmers and ranchers, most of whose cash went to debt service on their land, but it has expanded to include anyone who spends so much on his/her mortgage that he/she cannot spend on other goods and services he/she wants or needs. Being house poor is also known as being land poor. See also: Upside down mortgage, McMansion, Foreclosure.
Also called land poor; a situation in which all of one's wealth is in the home (or land) and there is very little cash or income to pay for anything other than necessities.