Home Research The Struggle of Lone Homebuyers in the Lone Star State: Decades of Savings Gap Against Couples
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The Struggle of Lone Homebuyers in the Lone Star State: Decades of Savings Gap Against Couples

Texas couples save up to 5 years for a starter home, but single buyers might face half a lifetime of budgeting... unless they live in Corpus Christi or Lubbock

by Alexandra Ciuntu
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5 min. read
  • In Texas’ 15 largest cities, single people need 8 to 27 years to save up enough to cover the difference between what the bank will lend them and the price of a starter home.
  • Corpus Christi has the shortest difference between singles’ and couples’ timeframes for saving: Individuals here would only need 6 years longer to save compared to couples buying together.
  • Arlington, Plano, and Austin deal with the widest affordability gap between solo buyers and couples: Singles in these areas would need around 23 years more than couples to save enough to bridge the gap between an affordable loan and the cost of a starter home.

Just like its heat, getting on the property ladder as a single person in Texas is not for the faint-hearted. And, the data paints a clear picture, reflecting the lived experiences of many non-partnered Texans: Measured against the increased budgeting prowess of couples, single-income homebuyers have their work cut out for them.

A recent Point2 study has disclosed the U.S. cities where singles could save almost as fast as couples. The study determined the maximum afforded mortgage based on the incomes of individuals and couples (so that the monthly loan payment, taxes, and homeowners’ insurance wouldn’t eat up more than 30% of earnings). Our analysts then calculated the gap between starter home prices and the loan amount to determine the time individuals and couples would need to save to cover it.

Spoiler alert: Texas singles have it rough, but at least not as rough as solo-income buyers in California.

 

In 13 Major TX Cities, the Gap in Saving Time for Singles & Couples Is 10+ Years 

Singles in Texas looking to inch closer to homeownership (while not becoming debt-ridden) depend on significant financial adjustments and stringent saving strategies. In this way, the 50/30/20 budget rule, while a helpful guideline, may still fall short when covering the amount left after calculating the maximum affordable mortgage loan.

That’s because most housing markets typically favor dual-income households. And, even with a mortgage that won’t force an extreme tightening of the belt, being a single buyer in one of Texas’ largest cities is a beast in its own right.

 

Solo buyers budgeting in Houston and San Antonio would need to save for about 15 years more than couples. This savings discrepancy is even starker in Austin, where individuals would require 26 years to set aside money to cover what the bank loan doesn’t, as compared to just 3 years for couples.

But it’s Arlington and Plano that take the cake when it comes to the widest affordability gap between solo buyers and couples: Singles in both cities would need to set money aside for nearly 27 years, contrasting sharply with the 3-year period for couples.

Although still grim, Dallas offers a slightly better scenario for singles — which is just as well for the significant 11% of population who are renting alone. In this case, solo renters who might want to take a leap of faith and buy alone deal with a saving term of 14 years and 7 months, versus 2 years and 7 months for couples.

On the upside, Corpus Christi might just be the place to buy for singles: On their own, homebuyers in the coastal city could afford a 56% mortgage on a $123,800 median starter home. With more than half the cost of a home covered by the loan, one could set aside the remaining $54,500 in 8 years (as opposed to less than 2 it would take a couple). Lubbock is the only other major city in Texas with a narrower gap in savings timeframe of less than a decade: Singles here would need to save for 7 years and a half more compared to couples.

However, while everything is bigger in Texas, California has a bigger discrepancy in the time it takes to buy a home on one’s own versus coupled up. To put that into perspective, single-income homebuyers in some major California markets would need to gear up for more than 50 years of saving to get on the property ladder. Even so, income disparity, climbing home prices, and scarce affordable inventory put homes increasingly out of reach for Texas first-time buyers.

 

Check out the savings gap between Texas singles and couples looking to cover the difference between the maximum mortgage afforded and the median starter home price in the state’s 15 largest cities:

CityStarter Home Price Median 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
Corpus Christi$123,810$63,642$184,888$24,7621.9$33,932$69,309$54,5008.06.09
Lubbock$126,937$76,376$235,483$25,3871.7$32,978$66,655$60,2839.17.48
Dallas$190,497$74,409$211,927$38,0992.6$39,372$75,624$114,87314.612.03
Laredo$137,225$43,090$97,785$39,4404.6$27,915$38,749$98,47617.613.06
Fort Worth$203,241$81,132$232,190$40,6482.5$40,176$72,859$130,38216.213.72
Houston$182,690$71,143$198,682$36,5382.6$35,531$60,141$122,54917.214.68
San Antonio$167,563$66,412$182,285$33,5132.5$33,163$52,941$114,62317.314.76
El Paso$161,657$56,095$136,966$32,3312.9$29,569$33,775$127,88321.618.74
Irving$254,053$85,867$241,584$50,8113.0$40,645$65,659$188,39423.220.22
Garland$236,102$72,415$193,463$47,2203.3$37,242$56,631$179,47124.120.83
Frisco$477,732$137,166$383,075$95,5463.5$69,958$121,615$356,11725.521.97
McKinney$390,461$111,322$305,554$84,9073.8$56,281$91,431$299,03026.622.75
Austin$373,010$125,139$368,377$74,6023.0$54,065$91,877$281,13326.023.02
Plano$379,118$110,573$305,391$75,8243.4$54,434$86,995$292,12326.823.40
Arlington$251,023$83,051$227,760$50,2053.0$37,512$50,598$200,42526.723.69

 

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.

  • For this study, we took into consideration the 15 largest Texas 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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