How Long Do Most Couples Save for a Down Payment and How Much Do They Put Away Each Month?

published Aug 23, 2016
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In polite company, most people prefer to steer conversation away from the topic of money. And even if you do broach the subject of, say, buying a home with your friends, it’s likely that nobody in the circle will ever throw out a real dollar amount when discussing how much they’ve saved or spent in their quest to complete the American Dream.

Ask for help with planning a wedding or getting perfectly poached eggs, and people love to jump in and share with you exactly how they’ve done it. But when it comes to buying a home, even your closest friends will skirt around their experience, offering advice that feels more like a scavenger hunt than a road map.

It’s not that you need to “Keep Up with the Joneses,” but sometimes it’s nice to get a truly candid snapshot of what life (and money) looks like for the average American.

Studying the Saving Habits of Real People

Personal finance website NerdWallet commissioned an online survey, conducted in June 2016 by Harris Poll, of more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The goal was to discover how homeowners sourced their down payments and to identify some of the unique struggles of couples who decide to save together.

The results of the study are almost like an FAQ of things your friends won’t tell you about homebuying.

How much do most people save each month towards a down payment?

It turns out most people don’t remember. Sixty percent of the homeowners NerdWallet surveyed said they weren’t sure how much they individually saved on a monthly basis in order to buy their home, which points to the idea that a lot of people aren’t planning and budgeting.

Of the people who did recall their savings plan, one in four said they saved individually, on a monthly basis towards a down payment on their current home, to the tune of $1,078.50 each month, on average.

How long does it take most people to save for a home?

Of the homeowners who said they needed to save to buy their home, it took them an average of three years before purchasing their current place.

Did most couples split their down payment equally?

Almost half said they did. Of the people who bought their home with a partner, 41 percent said they and their partner saved equally for the down payment.

Does buying a house with your S.O. totally freak anyone out, or is that just me?

Not just you—20 percent of millennials said that they had fears about buying a home because of the longterm commitment to their partner (only 4 percent of adults 35 and older feel the same way).

The other things that scare people off about homebuying were the home needing repairs (36%), not having enough money for other expenses (35%) and the financial commitment of homeownership (35%).

Does this study help you size yourself up when it comes to saving for a place of your own? Homeowners, do the findings match with your experience?