Buying Power

Here's how long single homebuyers in Austin have to save for a down payment

How long single homebuyers in Austin have to save for a down payment

Money stacked next to a house
It's a long road for single homebuyers. Photo by Sawitree Pamee/EyeEm, Getty Images

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 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 — except in Austin. Zillow claims that the average single homebuyer needs to save for 11 years to reach a 20 percent down payment on a typical U.S. home, and the Austin number is right in line with that. To reach this estimate, the real estate website combined home values and income data from the Census, and assumed that 10 percent of the individual's or couple's income was being saved every year.

So if Austin singles are having to wait a little over a decade to become homebuyers, how long does it take couples? 5.1 years, which is a little over the national average of 4.6. That's mainly because a couple's combined median income ($99,000) is nearly twice that of singles ($45,600), which also sets them up to afford a higher percentage of available housing stock: 87 percent versus 42 percent. So a couple in Austin could, at maximum, afford a home priced at $497,165. A single homebuyer is limited to $233,188 or less.

Dallas-Fort Worth residents have it a little easier than Austinites, no matter their marital status. In DFW, single homebuyers wait a little under the U.S. average at 9.6 years, while couples are right on target at 4.4 years. DFW couples have a much higher combined median income ($87,800 versus $40,000) and can afford 90 percent of the homes on the market. Singles are limited to 54 percent, or the homes priced at $205,047 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 better than 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, respectively.

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 eight years.