Mar 8, 2024 - Real Estate

Singles need 17 years to save for a Houston starter home

Years needed for <span style='text-decoration: underline 3px solid #6533ff;'>couples</span> and <span style='text-decoration: underline 3px solid #ff4e1f;'>individuals</span> to afford a starter home down payment
Data: Point2; Note: Down payment calculated as the minimum amount needed to have an affordable mortgage (<30% of monthly income) for the median-priced starter home in each market, or at least 20% down; Chart: Axios Visuals

If you're single and saving for a starter home in Houston, it will likely take you close to two decades to save for a down payment — but a couple needs only a fraction of that time, a new study finds.

Why it matters: While Houston generally ranks as one of the country's most affordable markets, it's harder if you're single.

By the numbers: It takes individuals in Houston 17.2 years to save enough to buy a typical starter home, per a recent analysis by Point2, an online real estate marketplace.

  • For couples, it takes about 2.6 years.

Of note: The median income for Houston singles is $35,531, compared with $71,143 for couples, per Point2 data.

The fine print: The study assumes people are saving 20% of their income for a down payment, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.

  • A starter home is defined as the median price of the cheaper third of listings in the region.
  • In Houston, that means homes with a selling price of about $183,000.

Between the lines: A quick Zillow search revealed that a house at that price point inside the loop is roughly 1,000 square feet.

Caveat: The analysis assumes a 6.6% mortgage rate. Current mortgage rates are hovering above 7%.

Zoom out: The timeline for comfortably buying a house largely depends on where you live.

  • On the West Coast, singles need decades longer to save for a starter home.
  • In the Midwest, being partnered doesn't give you a huge leg up.
  • Nationwide, saving for a starter home takes solo buyers 8.4 years, compared with 2.1 years for couples.
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