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.
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Having substantial real estate assets but little cash. It historically referred to agricultural land, but it no longer has that restricted definition.
The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.