The Definitive Guide to Buying Your First Home

Here's how long it would take to save to buy a home on an average income in 10 major US cities

Young men in Los Angeles, California.
Twenty20

For those earning an average income, it can seem impossible that you could ever save enough cash to be able to afford a down payment on a home. But depending on where you live, the true length of time can vary. In Los Angeles, it could take more than four decades to sock away enough, while that time shrinks to just seven years in Detroit where the median household income is low, but the cost of housing is more affordable.

In its 2019 Home Affordability Report, home co-investment company Unison calculated how long it would take save up enough for a 20% down payment in various cities across the U.S. based on the median income and median home values in each place. To determine how many years you'd need to save, Unison assumed a savings rate of 5% of your gross income per year.

Below, check out how long it would take to afford a down payment on a home if you earn the median income in 10 major U.S. cities, ranked from least to most time.

Detroit, Michigan

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 7
Median home value: $51,223
Median household income: $28,617

Dallas, Texas

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 14
Median home value: $182,101
Median household income: $50,386

Dallas, Texas.
joe daniel price | Moment | Getty Images

Chicago, Illinois

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 19
Median home value: $260,526
Median household income: $55,528

Denver, Colorado

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 22
Median home value: $352,172
Median household income: $64,784

Denver's economy is solid, and it has a strong, educated workforce. It also has the nation’s fourth-largest concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employees.
photoquest7 | iStock | Getty Images

Seattle, Washington

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 27
Median home value: $583,100
Median household income: $85,936

Boston, Massachusetts

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 30
Median home value: $486,752
Median household income: $64,553

Boston skyline at night.
FilippoBacci | iStock | Getty Images

New York, New York

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 36
Median home value: $558,065
Median household income: $61,816

San Francisco, California

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 40
Median home value: $1,031,732
Median household income: $102,300

San Francisco, California
RICOWde | Getty Images

Honolulu, Hawaii

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 40
Median home value: $717,564
Median household income: $71,236

Los Angeles, California

Number of years it takes to save for a 20% down payment: 43
Median home value: $622,523
Median household income: $58,043

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: The salary you need to earn to be able to afford a home in 15 major US cities

VIDEO0:5300:53
Suze Orman: Here's the No. 1 thing to do now if you want to buy a home soon
Young men in Los Angeles, California.
Twenty20
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

CNBC.COM