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Here's How Long It'll Take You to Save for a House in Your City, New Report Finds

Depending on where you live, it may take a while before you can afford a home of your own.

Everyone has their own unique idea of what their dream home would be. But when it comes down to actually paying for a property, there's one universal truth that remains the same: You'll need enough money on hand to buy it. Of course, fluctuations in the housing market can make the process easier or harder depending on when you're house hunting. But if you're looking to save up enough money to buy a home, there's no question that the city you live in will also be a significant factor in determining how much cash you'll need to save before you finally close. Now, a new report has shed light on just how long people will need to save up in every U.S. region before they can afford a down payment.

To assemble the rankings, real estate website RealtyHop collected data on the 150 largest cities nationwide, calculating an area resident's average annual savings by assuming a savings rate of 20 percent of the average household income. They then gathered the median price list in each place and calculated what an average down payment of 20 percent would be. The final rankings were then tabulated by comparing the two. Read on to see how long it will take you to save for a house in your city, according to a report from RealtyHop.

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detroit skyline

Those living in the Midwest have decent options if they're looking to buy a home as quickly as possible. Cities in the center of the U.S. managed to sweep the bottom five rankings on the list for the amount of time required, including Aurora, Illinois coming in at just 3.16 years to come up with a $50,400 down payment; 2.97 years in Cleveland-adjacent Akron, Ohio for a $23,600 average required payment; and 2.66 years in Wichita, Kansas for a $30,000 up-front payout.

Most notably, Detroit topped the list for the shortest amount of time needed to save for a house anywhere in the U.S. Househunters in the Michigan city can get enough cash together in 2.56 years for the area's average $17,780 down payment.

In fact, the region is fortunate enough to remain out of the top 50 spots entirely. The longest wait times are 4.7 years for a $60,980 payment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 4.69 years for $52,000 in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and 4.82 years to tuck away the $67,980 needed in Madison, Wisconsin. The Midwest's only city ranked in the top 100 is Chicago, Illinois in the 90th spot, where residents will need 5.17 years to scrounge up $68,000.


pittsburgh pennsylvania

Shopping around for a home in the Northeast? The region managed to score three spots in the bottom 50 rankings. They include Rochester, New York, where you can get together the $33,980 needed for a down payment in 4.24 years; and nearby Buffalo, New York, where you'll need just under four years to save $33,800.

But those looking for the fastest track to homeownership in the region will likely have their best luck in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which ranks 96th overall on the list. There, you'll need 3.87 years to come up with the average down payment of $42,000.

However, the Northeast is also home to its fair share of cities where a little more time may be needed before buying a house. There are three metro areas in the top 20, including Newark, New Jersey in the 19th spot with 8.69 years needed to put away towards a $71,800 down payment; and 9.16 years for the $149,800 required in Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York tops the region—and comes in fourth overall—with 12.45 years needed to save up $176,000.

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skyline of shreveport louisiana

How much time it will take you to save up enough to buy a home in the South really comes down to which city you're in. Metro areas run the gamut on the list, but you'll have the shortest wait in cities like Columbus, Georgia, where 3.56 years is all it takes to put away a $36,000 downpayment; Lubbock, Texas, which remains an affordable oasis in the state with just 3.51 years needed to save $37,900; and Montgomery, Alabama, where data says you'll be able to save the $35,000 you need for a down payment in 3.5 years on average.

The city that requires the shortest runway to own a home in the region is Shreveport, Louisiana. Residents can expect to come up with the $41,782 needed for an initial down payment within just 3.23 years.

But anyone looking for real estate in Florida might need to put their dreams on hold a little longer. The Sunshine State is home to the three most expensive metro areas in the region that will take the longest time to save up for a house. Those are Tampa, where it takes 7.93 years to pile up $95,000 in savings; Hialeah, where you'll need to save for 10.42 years to get together the $90,000 you'll need; and Miami, which comes in third overall on the list at 12.49 years needed to come up with the $119,600 for an average down payment.


glendale california
Shutterstock / Michael Gordon

Data from the RealtyHop report finds that the West can be a difficult place to get yourself a home quickly. The region only has two cities where you'll be able to save up enough in under five years, including Bakersfield, California where it'll take just about four-and-a-half years to come up with $62,000 for a downpayment. The other is Anchorage, Alaska, which is ranked 137th overall and requires just 3.69 years to come up with the $65,500 needed.

However, the region also skews much more toward the unattainable side when it comes to the amount of time needed to save for a down payment. It's home to 38 of the top 50 spots on the list—24 of which are in California. The cities where you'll have to save up the longest are Long Beach, where it will take 10.54 years to set aside $150,000; and Los Angeles, which comes in second in the nation with 13.47 years of saving required for a $188,000 downpayment. But it's Glendale that takes it all: It tops the list at 15.1 years needed to come up with the $225,000 required for a home down payment in the upscale enclave.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date financial information from top experts and the latest news and research, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the money you're spending, saving, or investing, always consult your financial advisor directly.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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