Mar 14, 2024 - Real Estate

Portland singles need 28 years to save for 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 Portland, it's likely to take you almost three decades — but the typical couple needs only a fraction of that time, a new study finds.

Why it matters: Availability and affordability are the two biggest issues homebuyers in Portland are up against as tight inventory and low-housing production have driven up the region's median home sale price. But it's much worse for people who live alone.

By the numbers: It takes singles in Portland 28.6 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 3.4 years.

Zoom in: The median income for Portland singles is $46,237, compared to $110,755 for couples, per Point2 data.

The fine print: The study assumes people save 20% of their yearly income for a down payment.

  • A starter home is defined as the median price of the cheaper third of listings in the region.
  • In Portland, that means homes with a selling price of about $381,817.

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

The big picture: 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 to 2.1 years for couples — far less than in Portland.

Yes, but: A few dozen housing markets are even tougher, especially in California.

Case in point: In Los Angeles, it would take a single person nearly 79 years to save for a starter home, compared to just over 25 years for a couple.


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