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With rising house prices largely driven by the inventory shortage, the time it takes a potential homebuyer to save for a 20% down payment is only likely to increase going forward.

Nationwide, for a couple, it takes 4.6 years to save enough to make a 20% down payment on a home, according to a study from Zillow that combines home values and 2016 income data from the U.S. Census. It takes a single person more than double to save, an average of 10.8 years. The study uses an assumption of a consumer saving 10% of his and/or her income per year.

There are a growing number of consumers using loan programs with as little as a 3% down payment for conforming loans or 3.5% for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans. But by putting less than 20% down, the consumer is subject to mortgage insurance premiums, and in the case of FHA that is for the life of the loan.

(The Veterans Affairs-guarantee program allows for 100% financing, but only current or former service members are eligible for these loans.)

"Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that buying a home is a central part of living the American dream, but for unmarried or unpartnered Americans, that dream is increasingly out of reach," Aaron Terrazas, Zillow's senior economist, said in a press release. "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."

A single person could afford to purchase only 45% of the U.S. housing stock, but a married or partnered couple could afford 82% of all homes, Zillow said.

Here are 12 cities ranked by the longest time it would take a married couple to save a 20% down payment where the maximum value of an affordable home is $350,000 or less. Data for single homebuyers is included for comparative purposes.


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