Home Research Homebuying Hope in the Heartland: Ohio Singles Save Nearly as Fast as Couples
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Homebuying Hope in the Heartland: Ohio Singles Save Nearly as Fast as Couples

A fairer playing field for singles & couples as solo buyers in Toledo need just 9 months more than couples to save for a starter home

by Alexandra Ciuntu
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6 min. read
  • Buying solo in Toledo wouldn’t take much longer than buying together. Single individuals in Toledo would require as little as 1 year and 8 months to save up enough to cover the difference between what the bank would lend them and the price of a starter home. That’s mere months behind their fellow coupled locals.
  • Good news for single people in Cleveland, too. The city offers the next-most equitable conditions for saving up: The additional saving time for singles would be just 1 year compared to couples buying together.
  • On the other hand, being paired up might make all the financial difference in Columbus and Cincinnati: Individuals here face more than 10 years of saving up versus about 2 years for couples.

Singles in the U.S. might not stand toe-to-toe with couples in the real estate market, but they come pretty close to it in Ohio. A recent study by Point2 looked at singles’ struggle for homeownership and revealed that major cities in the Buckeye State are bucking national trends with surprisingly narrow saving gaps between singles and couples looking to become homeowners.

The report uncovered which U.S. cities offer singles a quicker shot at saving up compared to couples. And, among the country’s 100 largest hubs, two Ohio cities emerge as savings havens for single people.

As part of the study, analysts looked into how much individuals and couples could afford in mortgage payments (so that the monthly payment, taxes, and homeowners’ insurance wouldn’t exceed 30% of their earnings). Then they determined how long it would take for both singles and couples to save up enough to cover the difference between starter home prices and their loan amount.

Amid soaring prices, limited inventory, and vanishing starter homes, the results are refreshing: Smack dab in the heartland of America, the dream of owning a home isn’t reserved for couples only.

 

Both Singles & Couples Save for a Starter Home Fastest in Toledo; Cleveland Hot on Its Heels

Solo homebuyers need just 2-3 years of saving in Akron, Canton, Dayton & Lorain, but face a decade of budgeting in Columbus, Cincinnati & Hamilton

Achieving homeownership without drowning in debt — that’s the dream.  Enter strict financial adjustments. While saving strategies like the 50/30/20 budget rule might not be the end-all solution to fully covering what’s left after figuring out the maximum affordable mortgage loan, they can serve as a starting point and offer some guidance.

Notably, in some Ohio cities, being a couple doesn’t make that much of a financial difference. For example, individuals in the 10 major cities require between 1 year and 8 months to 10 years and a half to save up and comfortably bridge the gap between an affordable loan and the cost of a starter home.

 

Toledo is a place where being single doesn’t mean sidelining one’s dreams of owning a home. That’s because individuals here would require less than 2 years to save for a starter home — a timeline that puts them just months behind couples. Such encouraging statistics make it a front-runner city for single homebuying hopefuls.

Likewise, somebody on their own looking to buy a home in Cleveland has the financial finish line in sight with just 2 years of saving, whereas a couple could reach it in a year. Hubs like Akron, Canton, and Dayton also show that solo savers need not wait a lifetime to set money aside for a starter home.

Of course, couples with dual incomes have a mathematical advantage in the housing market. But, even with a mortgage that won’t leave one pinching pennies, navigating the real estate scene as a single buyer can be quite the uphill battle.

In larger cities like Columbus and Cincinnati, a higher median income still comes with a steep savings challenge. Yet, the fact that singles can hypothetically achieve homeownership with a 10-year savings plan is a testament to the city’s relative affordability — particularly when compared to the decades-longer singles’ savings journey in Texas. Moreover, Ohio data is most promising when juxtaposed with the California landscape. Singles there are left to grapple with 40-, 50- and almost 60-year disparities in savings time compared to couples.

Although the national narrative might highlight the struggles of aspiring solo homebuyers, singles in Ohio are part of a different, more optimistic story — where the gap in saving for a home is more of a crack than a gaping chasm.

 

Check out the savings gap between Ohio singles and couples looking to cover the difference between the maximum mortgage afforded and the median starter home price in the state’s 10 largest cities:

CityStarter Home PriceMedian Income for CouplesAfforded Mortgage by CouplesRemaining Amount for CouplesYears Couples Need to Save InMedian Income for IndividualsAfforded Mortgage by IndividualsRemaining Amount for IndividualsYears Individuals Need to Save InDifference in Years to Save
Toledo, OH$53,343$57,573$194,700$10,6690.9$31,825$94,532$10,6691.70.7
Cleveland, OH$56,149$51,524$167,761$11,2301.1$26,982$72,284$11,2302.11.0
Akron, OH$73,713$60,493$203,274$14,7431.2$29,984$84,582$14,7432.51.2
Canton, OH$72,046$55,770$188,070$14,4091.3$28,019$80,113$14,4092.61.3
Dayton, OH$64,618$64,621$227,046$12,9241.0$28,213$85,408$12,9242.31.3
Lorain, OH$81,744$73,912$254,545$16,3491.1$30,652$86,250$16,3492.71.6
Parma, OH$151,434$73,945$226,195$30,2872.0$38,007$86,388$65,0468.66.5
Columbus, OH$173,514$76,526$241,041$34,7032.3$38,805$94,293$79,22110.27.9
Hamilton, OH$144,855$61,461$196,334$28,9712.4$31,305$79,018$65,83710.58.2
Cincinnati, OH$149,252$76,841$249,347$29,8501.9$33,195$79,550$69,70210.58.6

 

Methodology
Point2, a division of Yardi Systems Inc., covers real estate trends and news. Point2 studies are based on internal data, public records, governmental sources, online research, and other reliable third-party agencies.

  • The study takes into consideration the 10 largest Ohio cities, according to the most recent population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Median income for individuals (aged 15 and older) and couples (2-person families) was sourced from the 2022 ACS 1-year estimates and adjusted for 2023 using the BLS Wages and salaries increase.
  • We calculated the mortgage amount that an individual and a couple would be eligible for based on their respective incomes, assuming a monthly mortgage payment (including insurance and taxes) that doesn’t represent more than 30% of the median income and taking into consideration the 6.6%, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as per FRED.
  • We then calculated the difference between the maximum mortgage and local starter home price (also referred to as a down payment) needed to save to purchase a starter home. In cases where the down payment was less than 20% of the starter home price, we defaulted to a minimum of 20%.
  • We used the 50/30/20 rule (where 20% of the income should go towards savings) to calculate and compare the years required to save up for a down payment by both individuals and couples.
  • Tax rates sourced from SmartAsset; Homeowners Insurance values sourced from ValuePenguin.
  • Median starter home prices as per Zillow. The study considers “starter homes” as those valued in the bottom one-third of a given region — that is, homes that fell within the 5th to 35th percentile range. 

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage and freely grant permission to reuse, host or repost this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to Point2Homes.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

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