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Fewer first-time buyers are married

By Mike Wheatley | February 18, 2020

The declining rate of marriage in the U.S. means that married couples no longer dominate the first time buyer landscape like they used to. Instead, many first time buyers are going it alone, while others are even partnering with friends in order to get a foot on the property ladder, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

2002 NAR 1 married

The data shows that married couples made up 75% of all first time buyers in the 1980s, but that number has fallen to just 53% today.

So who else is buying homes for the first time? Well, some 17% are said to be single females, and they hold the largest share after married couples.

Interestingly, single females made up a 27% share in previous years, only for their share to drop.

“This drop is likely due to housing affordability,” Jessica Lautz, the NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, wrote in a blog post. “It is harder for a single-income individual to enter the competitive housing market the U.S. is facing today. Notably, while single men have traditionally had smaller shares of home buyers, the share of single men has now crept up to 10% of the first-time buyer market.”

There is also an increasing number of “galentines” teaming up to buy a home together, Lautz said. Galentines refers to platonic friendships, for example roommate. They now make up 4% of all first-time buyers, up from 2% a year ago.

2002 NAR valentines

Lautz notes that "galentines" and other unmarried couples tend to have a significant advantage over single buyers, due to having dual incomes.

“Dual incomes allow them to navigate the housing market and perhaps allow them to purchase a home that is at a higher price point where they may face less competition in the buying market,” Lautz said.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected]
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