Trend: More Single People Buying Homes

Trend: More Single People Buying Homes

We love discussing market trends here at the Meridian office in Westminster, Maryland. One trend that caught us by surprise is that single men and women now comprise 25% of the home buying market.

According to the National Association of Realtors, single women accounted for 16% of homebuyers in 2012 while single men accounted for 9%. Wow!

This data got us talking about the changes our society has undergone in the last 30 – 50 years and how these changes have affected home sales. We had an interesting discussion about why more single people are buying homes – and some of the reasons we think this trend is on the rise include:

One: People are getting married later

Since 1960, the average age at which men and women marry has continued to rise. In 1960, the average age of women at marriage was 20; for men it was 22. In 1990 it was 23 years of age and 26 years respectively. Today, the average age of women who marry for the first time is 27; for men it’s 29. (Source: HuffingtonPost)

Interesting how age has increased seven years for both genders!

Two: More people – including women — are educated

In 1960, fewer people attended college, with 254,000 men and 138,377 women enrolled. (Source: InfoPlease) According to Cleveland.com, women comprised 39% of undergraduate enrollment.

Today, that number has increased significantly – especially the numbers of women graduates. For 2009, the latest year for which data is available, 685,000 men and 916,000 women graduated from college – with women outnumbering men by 25%.

Three: Fewer people are marrying

In addition to marrying later, fewer people are marrying at all. In 1960, 72% of people got married. Today it’s 51%. (Source: Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends)

Adding these three changes together – people getting married later, more people obtaining college degrees, and fewer people marrying, it’s easy to see why more single people are buying homes.

Owning a home is a dream for many people – one that the data indicates single people aren’t putting off until they marry.

Societal changes have lead to the purchasing “gap”

What really interested us at the office, however, is the gap between women and men. Why are more single women than men are buying homes? No one knows.

Walter Molony, National Association of Realtors, stated in the New York Times piece, “Homeownership: Where Single Women Prevail,” that it might be something as simple as, “Most guys don’t get serious about housing until they meet the right woman.”

We also surmised that women simply have more buying power than they did even 10 or 15 years ago. Despite the wage gap (which still exists), women’s earnings grew 44% from 1970 – 2007, according to the Pew Research Center.

And, as more women enter the job force, they’re able to support themselves — meaning they no longer “have” to get married for financial reasons.

Four: It’s just easier to buy a home

Whatever the reason more single women then men are purchasing homes, one fact is clear: it is much easier to buy a home today than it was in 1960 – or even 2009.

  • Interest rates are still very low (a 30-year fixed is still in the low fours).
  • As a single purchaser, you may not need 20% down if you have excellent credit and a secure job
  • Lots of options exist to help get you into your first home, such as FHA or other programs.

Whether you’re a single man or woman considering your first home purchase, it pays to educate yourself. Read books, attend a class or lecture held by your community college or read websites such as HUD’s 9 Steps to Buying a Home.

And of course, if you have any questions – or you’d like help figuring out if a home purchase is right for you — please give one of our Loan Officers a call. We’re here to help you!