Mar 7, 2024 - Real Estate

Singles need 27 years to save for a Seattle 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 Seattle, it is 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: While Seattle generally ranks as one of the country's least affordable housing markets, it's much worse for people who live alone.

By the numbers: It takes individuals in Seattle 27.1 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 3.6 years.

Zoom in: The median income for Seattle singles is $68,941, compared to $154,767 for couples, per Point2 data.

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

  • A starter home is defined as the median price of the cheaper third of listings in the region.
  • In Seattle, that means homes with a selling price of about $560,000.

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

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

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

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