Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for home buying. According to this World Property Journal article, single females are taking the big step of becoming homeowners without the need to receive the ring. For the second year in a row single women account for the second largest group of all homebuyers at 18%, right behind married couples at 63%.
Yet First-time Buyers Continue to Struggle
The National Association of Realtors is reporting this week that single females continue to be a powerful force in the U.S. housing market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices remain, holding back first-time buyers despite notable interest in buying a home.
This is according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, which identified numerous consumer and housing trends in 2018, including mounting student debt balances; the impact of pets on home buying decisions; increases in down payments for all buyers; the rising age of repeat buyers; and the fact that a vast number of respondents use a real estate agent to buy or sell a home, which kept for-sale-by-owner transactions at an all-time low.
“With the lower end of the housing market – smaller, moderately priced homes – seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices. These factors contributed to the low number of first-time buyers and the struggles of would-be buyers dreaming of joining the ranks of homeownership.”
Other key trends of NAR’s buyers and sellers report include:
Single Female Buyers continue to be a strong force in the market
For the second year in a row, single female buyers accounted for 18 percent of all buyers. The group was the second most common household buyer type behind married couples (63 percent). Single male buyers came in third and accounted for half the number of buyers as their female counterparts (9 percent). However, single males tended to purchase more expensive homes, with a median price of $215,000, compared to single females with a median price of $189,000 (the lowest of all household buyer types).
Share of first-time buyers continues to fall
The share of first-time homebuyers continued a three-year decline, falling to 33 percent (34 percent last year). This number has not been 40 percent or higher since the first-time homebuyers credit ended in 2010.
“Low inventory, rising interest rates and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers,” said Yun. “However, existing home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.”
Buyers continue to rely on agents and the Internet to find the right home
For the third year in a row, 95 percent of buyers used the Internet at some point during their home search process, and 50 percent said that they found the home they eventually purchased online. Eighty-six percent of buyers used a real estate agent in their home search, and repeat buyers were more likely to use an agent than first-timers (87 percent to 86). Overall, 87 percent of buyers ended up purchasing their home through a real estate agent (the same as 2017), as finding the right home and negotiating terms of sale were the top factors buyers desired from their agent. Ninety percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend them to someone else.
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