Share of homeowners who are single hits record despite costsFebruary 26, 2020
Doug Sanders, 26, of Lima, Ohio, always figured he would buy a house after getting married one day.
“I thought it would take two incomes,” he says.
After graduating from college, he lived at home with his parents and got a sales job that left no time for vacations or going out with friends, allowing him to sock away much of his paycheck. A year ago, he landed a job as a sales representative for a top beermaker that came with a roughly 30% raise.
When his savings grew to $20,000, he started thinking big.
“I realized I had enough to put down on a house,” he says. “I would much rather buy than rent.”
Last October, Sanders, who is single, purchased a three-bedroom ranch house for $120,000 in the small, affordable city between Dayton and Toledo, putting down 20% with a little help from his parents. “They say there are three big decisions in life – who you marry, buying a house and career choice,” Sanders says. “Having one of those knocked out early … it definitely feels good.”
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How is the housing market?
The share of U.S. homeowners who are single hit a record 38.4% in 2018, the latest data available, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Haus, a company that partners with individuals to buy homes to reduce their costs. The trend largely reflects rapid growth in the portion of Americans who are single. It also highlights an improving economy and job market and the willingness of buyers to set up households in untraditional ways to overcome sharply rising housing costs.
The shift, if it persists, could shake up the housing market as builders put up more affordable homes tailored to singles and first-time buyers. From 2015 to 2018, the share of new houses less than 2,400 square feet rose to 51% from 47%, according to an analysis of census data by the National Association of Home Builders.
The portion of Americans ages 18 to 34 who are single hit a record 72.3% in 2018, up from 67.2% a decade earlier and 47.6% in 1980, according to the Haus study.
“People are getting married later in life,” says Ralph McLaughlin, the chief economist for Haus.
Since the late 1940s, women increasingly have entered the workforce, prompting many to delay marriage, McLaughlin says. Although the share of women working or looking for a job peaked at about 60% in 2000, more are rising to higher-level positions that may require longer hours, further leading them to put off marriage and children, he says.
Many older millennials struggled to land the jobs they wanted during and after the Great Recession of 2007-09, spurring them to defer marriage while they set their careers on the paths they envisioned.
Many such singles…