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Cities Where It’s Hardest and Easiest to Buy a Home

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Home ownership is still the American dream for many. In fact, homeowners have a median net wealth that’s nearly 75 times greater than renters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But for lower and middle income households, it’s becoming increasingly hard to meet the 20% down payment usually required to buy a home. RealtyHop took an in-depth look at how many years it takes to save up for a home in the top 150 most populated cities in the U.S.

These are the top five cities where it takes the longest time to be able to afford a home and the top five cities with the shortest times.

Related: Buying a home? Ignore This Outdated Advice

Aerial view of the Long Beach, California coastline including the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier shot from about 1000 in altitude.

Art Wager/istockphoto

No. 5 Hardest: Long Beach, California

In this oceanside city, it would take a buyer who is making approximately $71,150 some 10.54 years to cover the 20% down payment for a $750,000 home, which is the median cost.

Related: Secrets Realtors Don’t Want You to Know

View of Brownstone buildings in Harlem in Manhattan, New York City.


No. 4 Hardest: New York

It’s not shocking to see the Big Apple on this list. If you’re a New Yorker with a median household income of $70,663, it would take 12.45 years to save up a 20% down payment for a home, based on a formula of buyers saving 20% of their income each year. The median list price for home is $880,000.

Related: 30 Signs You’re a New Yorker

Miami Beach Ocean Drive hotels and restaurants at sunset. City skyline with palm trees at night. Art deco nightlife on the South beach


No. 3 Hardest: Miami

The study found that for a Miami family making a median income of $47,860, it would take 12.49 years for them to be able to buy a home in the area where the median list price is $598,000.

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the skyline of los angeles with palm tress during sunrise


No. 2 Hardest: Los Angeles

It’s not a surprise Los Angeles is up there on the list, as homes have a median listing price of $940,000 (and this even seems low). It would take homebuyers 13.47 years to make a 20% down payment of $188,000 if they’re at the median income of $69,778.

Glendale, California - December 10, 2020: Retail stores and restaurants at the Americana at Brand outdoor shopping center

Noah Sauve/istockphoto

No. 1 Hardest: Glendale, California

This West Coast city scores as basically the most impossible place to buy a home.

The median listing price is a cool $1,125,000. The survey estimates average buyers would need to spend 15.10 years saving for the 20% down payment of $225,000 if they’re at the median income of $71,150.

Aerial view over the downtown city skyline of Fort Wayne Indiana USA


No. 5 Easiest: Fort Wayne, Indiana

At the other end of the housing spectrum, the Hoosier State made the top five easiest cities to buy a home with this city known for its many churches and parks. The median household income for Fort Wayne is $53,978. With a median home asking price of $169,000, it would take 3.13 years to save for a home.

Akron, United States - May 29, 2014:  Downtown Akron skyline with the words


No. 4 Easiest: Akron, Ohio

The Midwest makes the top five again, as it typically would take 2.97 years for families to have the down payment for the median list price of $125,000 here with a median income is $42,129.

Downtown Toledo, Ohio skyline aerial view during the early morning golden hour, with the Maumee River in the foreground.


No. 3 Easiest: Toledo, Ohio

Ohio makes the top five twice with this city on Lake Erie. Toledo homebuyers on average will need to save for 2.83 years to afford a 20% down payment on a $118,000 home with a median income level of $41,671.

Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River


No. 2 Easiest: Wichita, Kansas

Kansas is another top place to go for affordable housing. Homes here go for a median price of $150,000. The average family in Wichita with income of $56,374 will need to spend about 2.66 years saving for the $30,000 down payment.

Detroit Skyline with Renaissance center at sunset


No. 1 Easiest: Detroit

The Motor City wins as the easiest city to save up for a house. If a family makes a median salary of $34,762, they can expect to spend 2.56 years saving for a down payment. The median home listing price in this city is $88,900.

Smiling senior woman in her kitchen drying a cup with a towel, she is leaning against the countertop, one window has sunshine coming inside


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