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Homebuyers: It Pays to be Married

Eleven years - that’s the time it would take for a single homebuyer to purchase a home, according to an analysis by Zillow. On the other hand, a married couple can not only afford a home that is double the price but can also buy it in less than five years.

The analysis, which was released on Friday combined home values and income data from the census to estimate how long it would take for both, an individual and couple to save for a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced home, assuming they saved 10 percent of their income every year. It found that less than half of all U.S. homes were affordable for the single homebuyer, who could afford a home up to $176,100, a price that’s less than the national median home value.

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that buying a home is a central part of living the American Dream, but for unmarried or un-partnered Americans, that dream is increasingly out of reach,” said Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow.

Singles have fewer affordable options because they have smaller budgets, the analysis found, with only about 45 percent of all U.S. homes affordable to them. A married, couple, on the other hand, could afford 82 percent of all homes.

"Single buyers typically have more limited budgets, which means they are likely competing for lower-priced homes that are in high demand. Having two incomes allows buyers to compete in higher-priced tiers where competition is not as stiff," Terrazas explained.

Single women, have it worse than their male counterparts, with the analysis finding that 52 percent single men were able to afford a home compared to only 39 percent single women. In terms of age too, the analysis found that being married was a better bet for homebuyers. Young couples under the age of 35, with only one income earner, could afford 22 percent of the U.S. housing stock, whereas singles in the same age group could afford only 11 percent.

But all is not lost for the singleton. The analysis found that Indianapolis, where saving for a down payment took less than eight years was the most affordable city for singles. It found that singles could afford a greater share of homes in Indianapolis to other major markets.

On the other end, were Portland, Oregano and Sacramento, California, where it could take almost 30 years for a single to save up for a down payment. The analysis found that In Portland, 73 percent homes were affordable for a couple but only 6 percent were affordable for the single buyer. The numbers didn’t change much in Sacramento with couples being able to afford 75 percent homes compared with singles who could afford only 8 percent of the homes in the city.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Dallas, Texas. You can contact her at [email protected].

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