The Definitive Guide to Buying Your First Home

Here's how long it takes to save up for a home on a normal person's salary in 10 big US cities

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Housing prices have been rising faster than inflation in the U.S., which is pricing more and more people out of the market. Still, owning a home remains a top priority for 72% of millennials, according to Bank of America's 2018 Homebuyer Insights Report.

Personal finance site SmartAsset calculated how many years it would take the typical worker to save up to buy a typical home in the largest cities across the country by identifying the median home value and median salary for workers in each place. From there, the site determined how many years it would take to save up a standard 20% down payment if workers put away 20% of their salary each year.

Note that the site did not take into account closing costs, surprise expenses, taxes, fees or maintenance costs, which experts say can add significantly to the amount required to actually buy a home. Also, SmartAsset used home values; listed prices can be higher.

Here's how long the site says it would take a person making an ordinary salary to save up enough money for a down payment on a home in 10 big U.S. cities, ordered from the fewest years to the most.

10. Seattle, Washington

Median home value: $673,100
Median income: $86,822
Years: 7.75

9. San Diego, California

Median home value: $600,300
Median income: $76,662
Years: 7.83

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8. Miami, Florida

Median home value: $322,100
Median income: $40,327
Years: 7.99

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Median home value: $540,600
Median income: $66,758
Years: 8.10

6. San Jose, California

Median home value: $854,700
Median income: $104,675
Years: 8.17

5. Long Beach, California

Median home value: $557,700
Median income: $60,557
Years: 9.21

4. Oakland, California

Median home value: $686,700
Median income: $70,577
Years: 9.73

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3. San Francisco, California

Median home value: $1,104,100
Median income: $110,816
Years: 9.96

2. New York City, New York

Median home value: $609,500
Median income: $60,879
Years: 10.01

1. Los Angeles, California

Median home value: $647,000
Median income: $60,197
Years: 10.75

How to save for a down payment

Once you have an idea of how much you'll need to save, you can start putting a plan into action.

SmartAsset's calculation depends on workers saving 20% of their salary each year, which is in line with what experts generally suggest socking away. Still, if you have other savings goals or aren't able to put away that much of your income, it's possible to make progress toward your goal.

The most straightforward tip? Rethink where you want to buy. "Inland" cities, like many of those in Texas, typically have cheaper housing options than those on the coasts.

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If you're gearing up to save for a down payment, here are some other tips to get started:

Not all of these options are available to everyone, so you'll need to do your homework to see if you qualify. But they can be a good starting point.

Finally, as Andrew Westlin, a certified financial planner at Betterment, tells CNBC Make It, you may have to reassess your priorities to put saving for a house first. There's only so much money to go around.

"I don't like to tell people to put off retirement because the more you save and the earlier you can save, the better off you are," Westlin says. "But when you're faced with a goal like retirement ... versus near-term goals like wanting to buy a home and paying off debt, sometimes you have to make tough choices and determine what's a higher priority to you."

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