Here’s How Long It Takes to Save for a House

Updated: Mar. 30, 2023

Looking to buy property in the near future? This report breaks down just how long the saving process will take depending on where you live.

Buying a house can be an exciting process—but also pretty draining, particularly when it comes to figuring out the financial cost of it all. And while it is still viably possible to buy a property that you love, the timing may take a bit longer than you think, according to a recent startling report.

Using 1.8 million for-sale listings gathered between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, RealtyHop reported how long it would take to buy a house in 150 major cities across the United States. In order to do this, they looked at the average household income in the area using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as taking into account the average annual savings and median listing price for houses available within those areas. The total average years required is based on how long it would take for that household to be able to save for a 20% down payment.

While some cities still offer affordable houses and reasonable timelines for buying, other major cities require a bit—or a lot—more time before buying property is even possible. Based on their findings, here’s how long you would have to wait and how much you would expect to pay for a house.

How Long Does It Take to Save for a House?

The amount of time it will take to save up enough money for a 20% down payment on the house will vary from city to city, based on average household income and the median listing price within the area. For example, while San Francisco has a much higher median listing than Los Angeles, the average number of years it takes to save for a house is fewer due to the typical household income for residents living within that area.

Depending on the area you reside in, it could take anywhere between 2.5 to 15 years to save enough money to buy property—depending on your own personal household income, of course.

After reporting the average time it takes for one to save enough money for a house, RealtyHop’s report also includes a list of favorite cities to buy in if you’re looking to obtain a house quickly in an up-and-coming city. These cities include Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (3.87 years, average cost $210,000), Rochester, New York (4.24 years, $169,900), Des Moines, Iowa (3.25 years, $190,000), Cleveland, Ohio (3.41 years, $114,900), Montgomery, Alabama (3.5 years, $175,000) and more.

And while California tends to be one of the more expensive states to live in, RealtyHop marks Bakersfield, California as a great option for a West Coast home—with just 4.49 years and a median price of $310,000.

Of course, you should also factor in the cost of things you would pay for before buying a house.

How Long It Takes to Save for a House in Major Cities Around the Country

Woman hugging man and holding home keysRidofranz/Getty Images

If you’re looking to buy a house in some of the major cities across the United States, here’s how long the average resident will have to save for the traditional 20% down payment.

  • Los Angeles, CA: 13.47 years, median listing of $940,000
  • New York, NY: 12.45 years, median listing of $880,000
  • Miami, FL: 12.49 years, median listing of $598,000
  • San Francisco, CA: 10.5 years, median listing of $1,325,000
  • Boston, MA: 9.16 years, median listing of $749,000
  • Jersey City, NJ: 8.59 years, median listing of $699,000
  • Washington, DC: 7.16 years, median listing of $669,900
  • Austin, TX: 6.84 years, median listing of $540,000
  • Portland, OR: 6.44 years, median listing of $505,000
  • Chicago, IL: 5.17 years, median listing of $340,000

So whether you decide to wait just three years or a full 15 to live in the area you enjoy, be sure to check out these things to consider when buying a house.