3/27/2017

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The Growth of Single Households: Singles Make Up Quarter of All Buyers
Source: REALTOR® Mag


Since more Americans are marrying later, divorcing frequently, and living longer, greater numbers of people are living alone. In fact, single buyers comprised a quarter of all home purchases last year, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. The living solo trend is evident in the country’s 33 million one-person households. Young adults ages 18 to 34 are the fastest-growing group of people living alone.

Making sense of the story

  • Solo households are also mostly women: 18 million women live alone versus 14 million men. Twice as many single women bought homes as did single men in 2012.
  • In 1970, one-person households represented just 17 percent of all households. The growth in this number is a historic change in human society.
  • A single buyer can face challenges in this post-recession market, especially when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage because a single buyer cannot rely on the advantages of dual incomes or shared responsibly that a two-person household does. That being said, single buyers are not dragged down by a partner's credit score, loans, or credit card debt.
  • Single households are prominent in other countries as well, with Sweden having the largest proportion of solos (47 percent). The United Kingdom has a rate of 34 percent, Japan’s is 30 percent, and Norway’s is 40 percent.
  • Around 11 million Americans living alone are elderly, and the majority of solo households are in cities and metro areas.
  • Purchasing a home can be a means of self-expression for singles, and they can express their lifestyles and values while focusing on the exact communities, home styles, and features that cater to their individuality with much less compromise.
  • "It's a way for singles to express their lifestyles and values,” she says. “They are able to focus on the exact communities, home styles, and features that cater to their individuality with much less compromise."

  • One-person households may be drawn to more low-maintenance homes, but for resale reasons, they still place a high value on being in a highly rated school district, agents say. 

  • Being a single buyer can pose challenges, particularly in a post-recession market. Qualifying for a mortgage may be the biggest obstacle for single buyers, since they don’t have the advantages of dual incomes or shared responsibly that a two-person household does. 

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