Homebuyer Blues

This is how much millennials must save to buy a home in San Antonio

This is how much millennials must save to buy a home in San Antonio

266 Claywell San Antonio house for sale
Buyers should have $29,919 for a down payment on a starter home in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Even in San Antonio, one of the best cities for first-time buyers, purchasing a home can be a challenge.

As part of an annual survey, Apartment List asked millennial renters across the country about their plans for homeownership. The San Antonio metro area lines up with the national trend: A lot of young people want to buy a place, but they can't afford to right now, and they may not be able to anytime soon.

Eighty-six percent of local millennials plan to buy a home, but most say they need at least three years to prepare. Affordability is the main reason for holding off, which is discouraging considering it's cheaper to own than rent in San Antonio.

While millennials understand that the market is pricey, they underestimate what it will take to buy a home. Survey respondents think they need $13,750 for a down payment, but 2016 data from the National Association of Realtors says first-time buyers should have $29,919 in the bank, 20 percent of the $149,594 median price of a San Antonio starter home.

These prospective homebuyers have a long road ahead. Local respondents report having $1,620 in savings, with plans to contribute $210 each month. While they think it will take three years to save up the necessary dough, based on the savings rate and down payment requirements, they'll need to save for over nine years to buy a home. That's three years longer than the time calculated on the 2016 survey.

This disconnect is seen across the country. The delay in first-time home purchases is part of what Apartment List calls an ongoing affordability crisis that is shaping the future of the housing market. Homeownership across the country is historically low, and millennials, the largest generation, won't be able to boost those figures.

"High levels of student debt and stagnant career opportunities have long kept millennials sidelined from the real estate market and, even with recent improvements in the labor market, affordability continues to be a major concern. Our analysis shows that the lack of savings by millennials, combined with the extreme shortage in affordable entry-level homes, means that a large share of millennials may be stuck renting for years."