It doesn't take a math genius to know that two incomes are better than one, especially when saving up to buy a house. A new report from Zillow confirms that single homebuyers have it really, really rough, with many living in cities where it takes two or three times as long to save for a down payment as it does for a couple. Even worse, less than half of all U.S. homes are affordable for a single homebuyer.
In Texas, however, the numbers are a little less scary. While Zillow claims that the average single homebuyers would need to save for 11 years to a reach a 20 percent down payment on a typical U.S. home, in Dallas-Fort Worth the number is a slightly better 9.6 years. To reach this estimate, the real estate website combined home values and income data from the Census and assumed that 10 percent of the person's or couple's income was being saved every year.
So if singles in DFW are having to wait nearly a decade to become homebuyers, how long does it take couples? Only 4.4 years. That's mainly because their combined median income ($87,800) is more than twice that of singles ($40,000), which also sets them up to afford a higher percentage of available housing stock: 90 percent versus 48 percent. So a couple in DFW could, at maximum, afford a home priced at $440,698. A single homebuyer is limited to $205,047 or less.
The silver lining here is that DFW residents still have it easier than Austinites, no matter their marital status. In Austin, single homebuyers are right in line with the U.S. average at 11.1 years, while couples actually have to wait a little longer than the nation as a whole: 5.1. Austin couples have a much higher combined median income ($99,000 versus $45,600) and can afford 87 percent of the homes on the market. Singles are limited to 42 percent, or the homes priced at $233,188 or less.
Aspiring Houston and San Antonio homebuyers are on the fastest track to Texas homeownership. Both cities give couples a four-year wait time, while singles only need to save for 8.8 and 8.4 years, respectively. The majority of each area's homes are affordable for couples (91 and 93 percent) but dip a little more for single Houstonians (58 percent compared to San Antonio's 63 percent). Median incomes are the lowest in Texas, with Houston couples making $85,000 ($39,000 for singles) and San Antonio couples earning $76,000 ($36,300 for singles).
No matter how disappointing it might look for Texans, at least it's way better than the situation in California. In San Jose, it can take singles 30 years to save for a down payment — typically the life of a home loan itself. San Francisco and Los Angeles are only marginally better, at 27.8 and 26.8 years.
Single and itching to sign the mortgage papers now? Go house-hunting in Indianapolis, which only demands 7.5 years of saving time from singles, or Detroit and Cleveland, which both clock in at 8 years.