Sad News for Singletons

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

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

Money stacked next to a house
It's a longer 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 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 Houston the number is a slightly better 8.8. 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 Houston are having to wait nearly a decade to become homebuyers, how long does it take couples? Only four years. That's mainly because their combined median income ($85,000) is more than twice that of singles ($39,000), which also sets them up to afford a higher percentage of available housing stock: 91 percent versus 58 percent. So a couple in Houston could, at maximum, afford a home priced at $438,272. A single homebuyer is limited to $197,571 or less.

The silver lining here is that Houstonians have it easier than both Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin residents, 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 years. 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 only able to afford 42 percent, or the homes priced at $233,188 or less.

Single homebuyers in Dallas-Fort Worth have to wait 9.6 years, while couples only scrimp and save for 4.4 years. The median income for DFW couples is $87,800, versus $40,000 for singles, and together they can afford 90 percent of the homes currently for-sale. Singles, meanwhile, are stuck with homes priced at $205,047 or less, or 54 percent of the available housing stock.

Aspiring San Antonio homebuyers share space with Houston on the fast track to Texas homeownership. San Antonio gives couples a four-year wait time, while singles only need to save for 8.4 years. The majority of San Antonio homes are affordable for couples (91 percent), but dip a little more for single San Antonians (63 percent). Alamo City's median income is low for Texas, however, with couples making $76,000 (only $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 eight years.