It Takes 11 Years for a Single Homebuyer to Save for a Down Payment

– Saving for a down payment on the median U.S home takes six years longer for a single person than a couple, according to a new Zillow analysis.

– Less than half of all U.S. homes are affordable for a single homebuyer.

– A single buyer can afford a home up to $176,100, less than the national median home value.

– A married or partnered couple could afford a home worth more than twice as much as a home a single homebuyer could afford.

Seattle, WA – Feb. 9, 2018 (PRNewswire) In today’s highly competitive housing market, finding an affordable home can feel increasingly out of reach, especially for singles.

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A single homebuyer would need to save for nearly 11 years to reach a 20 percent down payment on the typical U.S. home, according to a new Zillow® analysis. However, for married or partnered couples, it would take less than five years. In San Jose, California, a single buyer would need more than 30 years to save for a down payment – longer than the lifespan of a typical home loan.

Zillow’s analysis combined home values and income data from Census to estimate how long it would take for both an individual and couple to save for a 20 percent down payment on the median-priced home, assuming they saved 10 percent of their income every year.

Single buyers typically have a smaller budget than couples, which leaves them with fewer homes to choose from and limits them to the most in-demand portion of the housing stock. The number of homes for sale is limited across the country, down nearly 11 percent over the past year, and nearly 18 percent for the least expensive homes. A single person could afford to buy less than half (45 percent) of the U.S. housing stock, compared to a married or partnered couple, who could afford 82 percent of all homes.

“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 Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas. “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.”

The difference between what a single person could afford compared to a couple is greatest in Portland, Oregon, and Sacramento, California. In Portland, 73 percent of homes are affordable to a couple, but only 6 percent are affordable to a single buyer. For Sacramento buyers, a couple could afford 75 percent of homes while a single homebuyer could afford 8 percent of homes.

Single buyers will have it easiest in Indianapolis, where saving for a down payment takes less than eight years, and they can afford the highest share of homes among the largest American housing markets.


Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Follow the Money – How Recent Buyers Purchased Their Home (NAR Infographic)

Here is a look at how recent buyers purchased their home:

Median purchase price – $235,000
Obtained a mortgage – 88%
Down payment amount – 10 percent
Down payment sources – savings (59 percent); sales proceeds from previous home (38 percent)
Received down payment help from family/friends – 16 percent
Obtaining a mortgage was not difficult/easier than expected – 66 percent

For more Information read the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Real Estate Infographic

Median Down Payment For U.S. Homes Purchased In Q3 2017 Increases To A New High Of $20,000

Average Down Payment of $76,645 Also at New High; Median Down Payment 7.6 Percent of Median Home Price, a 4-Year High; Purchase Loans Up 7 Percent, HELOCs Up 12 Percent, Refis Down 19 Percent from Year Ago

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017 (PRNewswire) ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, today released its Q3 2017 U.S. Residential Property Loan Origination Report, which shows that the median down payment for single family homes and condos purchased with financing in the third quarter was $20,000, up from $18,161 in the previous quarter and up from $14,400 in Q3 2016 to a new high as far back as data is available, Q1 2000.


The loan origination report is derived from publicly recorded mortgages and deeds of trust collected by ATTOM Data Solutions in more than 1,700 counties accounting for more than 87 percent of the U.S. population. Counts and dollar volumes for the two most recent quarters are projected based on available data at the time of the report (see full methodology below).

The average down payment of $20,000 was 7.6 percent of the median sales price of $263,000 for financed home purchases in the third quarter, up from 7.1 percent in the previous quarter and up from 6.1 percent in Q3 2016 to the highest level since Q3 2013 — a four-year high.

“Buying a home has become a full-contact sport in many markets across the country, and buyers with the beefiest down payments — not to mention all-cash buyers — are often able to muscle out those with scrawnier savings,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Despite the increasingly competitive nature of homebuying, the number of residential property purchase loans nationwide increased to a 10-year high in the third quarter.”

Median down payment tops $50,000 in a dozen markets
The median down payment was more than $50,000 in 12 of the 99 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, led by San Jose California ($247,000); San Francisco, California ($170,000); Los Angeles, California ($118,000); Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California ($105,000); and Boulder, Colorado ($99,900).

“Across Southern California factors such as low available listing inventory have resulted in many consumers turning to cash or leveraging investment accounts for cash as alternative methods for funding home ownership and beating out competitors for acceptance of their purchase offers in a highly competitive market,” said Michael Mahon president at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market.

Other markets with median down payments above $50,000 were San Diego, California; New York, New York; Fort Collins, Colorado; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; and Naples, Florida.

“Rising home prices in the Seattle area combined with changes in the mortgage underwriting process have pushed the median down payment over $50,000 and the average down payment to over $100,000,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market. “We’ve also seen an increase in new mortgages which is an indication of rising home sales. Most interesting to me is the big jump in new lines of credit which is likely a result of frustrated buyers deciding to stay in their existing homes and remodel rather than deal with the highly competitive Seattle housing market.”

Purchase and HELOC originations increase, refinance originations down
Nearly 2.4 million loans (2,386,518) secured by residential property (1 to 4 units) were originated in the third quarter, up 17 percent from the previous quarter but still down 5 percent from a year ago.

Of the total 2.4 million loan originations during the quarter, nearly 1.1 million were purchase loans (1,011,144), up 8 percent from the previous quarter and up 7 percent from a year ago to the highest level since Q3 2007 — a 10-year high.

A total of 981,773 refinance loans secured by residential property were originated in the third quarter, up 28 percent from the previous quarter but still down 19 percent from a year ago.

A total of 393,602 home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) secured by residential property were originated in the third quarter, up 19 percent from the previous quarter and up 12 percent from a year ago.

Read full report and methodology.

About ATTOM Data Solutions
ATTOM Data Solutions is the curator of the ATTOM Data Warehouse, a multi-sourced national property database that blends property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, health hazards, neighborhood characteristics and other property characteristic data for more than 150 million U.S. residential and commercial properties. The ATTOM Data Warehouse delivers actionable data to businesses, consumers, government agencies, universities, policymakers and the media in multiple ways, including bulk file licenses, APIs and customized reports.

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Unison Survey Reveals 4 in 10 Americans Find Saving for a Down Payment the Biggest Financial Barrier to Home Ownership

Although 77 Percent Agree Buying a Home Is a Good Financial Decision, Data Shows Why Many Do Not Follow Through

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 19, 2017 (PRNewswire) Unison Home Ownership Investors, the leading provider of home ownership investments, today announced findings from its survey of 2,018 Americans, conducted by Atomik Research, on the biggest barriers to home ownership. The findings reveal that there are significant generational and regional differentiators when it comes to housing, including how much is being spent on rent, flexibility in budget and compromises for the ideal home location. While majority of Americans agree that buying a home is a good financial decision, saving enough money for a down payment and the process of getting approved for a loan are the major financial barriers.

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The New York Fed’s recent Household Debt and Credit Report shows total consumer debt in Q2 2017 has increased by $114 billion to $12.84 trillion and student loan debt alone reached $1.3 trillion. Between skyrocketing rents, student loans and debt to pay off, many Americans have a hard time budgeting for a down payment. To understand changes in home purchasing behavior and industry perceptions, Unison’s survey dove deep into the decision-making process to understand barriers of entry, impact on monthly financials and accessibility to additional funds.

The Decision-Making Process to Buy or Not to Buy a Home

Although the majority of Americans understand that owning a home is a sound investment and are willing to make sacrifices for the ideal place, they are not ready to follow through with a purchase. Part of this is a result of not fully understanding the financial benefits or trusting the credibility of information available.

  • Majority of respondents (77 percent) agree that buying a home is a good financial decision, however, 15 percent admit they are not comfortable when it comes to understanding the implications that purchasing a home has on personal finances.
  • Over half (63 percent) agree to some extent that home ownership can reduce the stress and anxiety associated with rentals and moving, and improve mental health.
  • 54 percent agree to some extent that a home mortgage is often less expensive than renting, which can improve family health by freeing up money for healthier food and doctor appointments.
  • Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) would accept a financial strain if it meant living in a neighborhood with high quality schools and was close to good job opportunities.
  • When receiving information on buying a home – 54 percent would trust the credibility of their local realtor/real estate agent; 43 percent would trust their family and friends, or their bank – and only 12 percent would trust their local newspaper.

Financial Barriers Holding Prospective Buyers Back

Once the value of home ownership is understood, there are other financial factors stopping prospective buyers from moving forward. From rising property prices to not being able to save enough money for a down payment, people would rather avoid the hassle. Also, there’s a disconnect between what the respondents felt was required of a down payment for a mortgage, versus what is considered reasonable.

  • Saving for a down payment is the biggest financial barrier for 41 percent of those looking to become home owners; 30 percent find it a headache to get approved for a loan.
  • 56 percent of respondents believe that low wages and debt make it hard to save money in their area.
  • However, the high price of rental homes and apartments are also becoming a major concern for 57 percent of respondents, followed closely by cost to buy or own a home in their area (53 percent).
  • In fact, 66 percent of those surveyed admit paying between $500 and $2,000 per month for rent or mortgage. And, more than half (55 percent) admit this to be a strain on their monthly budget.
  • While 3 in 10 would expect their bank to require a 10 percent down payment for a mortgage, 24 percent felt a 5 percent down payment would be a more reasonable amount.

Generational and Regional Gaps to Home Ownership

The survey found that Millennials, compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, are also far less likely to take the plunge. In addition, in major metro cities where housing is expensive, people are more likely to spend outside of their budgets to purchase a home.

  • Millennials (56 percent) are more likely to be concerned about the cost to buy or own a home than Baby Boomers (47 percent).
  • 56 percent of Millennials reported that they felt ‘very comfortable’ or ‘somewhat comfortable’ understanding the financial options available for purchasing a home.
  • Millennials (38 percent) are less likely than Gen X (51 percent) and Baby Boomers (55 percent) to agree that home ownership allows for deductions on federal, state and local income taxes.
  • Millennials (65 percent) are more likely than Gen X (59 percent) and Baby Boomers (51 percent) to view mortgages as an opportunity to own a home by the time they retire.
  • Millennials (32 percent) are far less likely to own their home compared to Gen X (52 percent) and Baby Boomers (65 percent).
  • Nearly 60 percent of Millennials report rent and mortgage payments as a strain on their budget each month, compared to 58 percent and 43 percent for Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively.
  • Cities where housing is most expensive (New York City – 59 percent and San Francisco – 54 percent), respondents were most willing to spend outside their budget if the neighborhood had better schools and job opportunities. Portland, Oregon (35 percent) and Hartford, Connecticut (36 percent) were least likely.
  • Los Angeles had the highest percentage of participants paying over $2,000 per month for rent or mortgage (27 percent), compared to the average of 7 percent.
  • Nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents in San Francisco expect they would need to put down 20 percent for a new home mortgage.

“At Unison, we want to make home ownership a reality for more people. To do so, it’s important to study the current landscape and get a granular understanding into why the home ownership rate for the first-time buyer demographic has dropped over the last decade,” said Brian Elbogen, director of research, Unison. “While this survey confirms that saving enough money for a down payment is the biggest financial barrier, we also found that there is a missed opportunity for those who do not understand the benefits of home ownership, and that there are alternative financing options available.”


The Unison survey was conducted by Atomik Research on a sample of 2,018 general population respondents in the United States and in accordance with MRA guidelines and regulations. The online survey was fielded between August 7 and 11, 2017. Of the survey participants, 100 respondents were in each of the following cities: Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut; Los Angeles; New York; Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Virginia; Philadelphia, Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; and Seattle. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRA certified researchers and abides to MRA code.

For more information on Unison, please visit

About Unison Home Ownership Investors

Unison is the leading provider of home ownership investments, modernizing home financing through long-term partnerships. Unison works with lenders, regulators and institutional investors to integrate home ownership investing into the U.S. housing finance system. Unison HomeBuyer helps purchasers buy the home they want with less debt and risk, typically by doubling the down payment. The larger down payment makes it easier to qualify for a loan, increases buying power, lowers the monthly payment and/or allows a buyer to reserve cash. Unison HomeOwner provides current homeowners with cash to eliminate debt, remodel, pay for school, invest or as a cash cushion, without the added debt or payments of a home equity loan or HELOC.

Unison’s platforms have received prestigious recognitions including the FinovateSpring 2017 and Benzinga 2017 Best of Show awards. Headquartered in San Francisco, Unison operates in 13 states and has secured over $300M in total capital. For additional information, visit

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