Courtesy Adobe Stock Jakub Jirsak

Affording a home is no small task, especially in today's increasingly competitive market with lower supply and higher home prices. Here Zillow shows how an average savings timeline of 11 years may be dampening the American dream.

In today's highly competitive housing market, finding an affordable home can feel increasingly out of reach, especially for singles.

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.'

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