Real Estate

NAR: More single women buying homes

First-time buyers increase after 3 years of declines

Single-women increased their share in the market, hitting levels not seen since 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey.

While married couples make up the largest share of homebuyers at 66%, and had the highest income at $99,200, single women are increasing their role. Last year the share of single women fell to its lowest point since 2002’s 15%, but this year they seem to be making a comeback. Single women represented 17% of the market this year, the highest point since 2011.

“Despite having a much lower income ($55,300) than single male buyers ($69,600), female buyers made up over double the amount of men (7%),” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

“Single women for years have indicated a strong desire to own a home of their own, as well as an inclination to live closer to friends and family,” Yun said. “With job growth holding steady and credit conditions becoming somewhat less stringent than in past years, the willingness and opportunity to buy is becoming more feasible for many single women.”

What’s more, a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac, shows that women are better than men at paying their mortgages on time, and are better with finances in general.

However, while men may be slower to enter the market, homes owned by single men have a 10% greater value, and appreciate 16% more than homes owned by single women, according to an analysis released by RealtyTrac.

But single women aren’t the only ones increasing their share in the market – although first-time homebuyers have been decreasing every year for three straight years, 2016 seemed to bring an end to the trend, according to the survey.

The results of the survey, which dates back to 1981, do not include investors or vacant homes.

After a three-year decline, the number of first-time homebuyers increased to 35% of market sales, its highest since 2013’s 38%, the survey showed. This is up from last year’s 30-year low of 32%. The first-time homebuyer 35-year average rests at 40%.

“Young adults are settling down and deciding to buy a home after what was likely a turbulent beginning to their adult life and career following the Great Recession,” Yun said.

“Demand increased over the past year because of a robust job market for those with a college degree and renter fatigue at a time when homeowners continue to see their equity rise,” Yun said. “Even with the affordability challenges many buyers face, the allure of homeownership is not lost among the younger generation. Those under age 35 made up 61% of first-time buyer transactions.”

While the increase is encouraging, the lack of housing supply could still cause problems for first-time homebuyers if they continue to move towards homeownership.

“First-timers’ ability to enter the market more convincingly over the next year greatly depends on supply improvements at the lower end of the market and if wages can finally awaken from their sluggish pace of growth,” Yun said.

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