Unmarried Americans are having a growing impact on a key sector of the economy.
There’s an intriguing dynamic developing in the U.S. residential resale sector, as single men and women are making their voices heard – and their intentions known – about home purchases.
In a new study by the real estate firm Orchard, younger Americans showed how Americans – single and in romantic partnerships but not married – view home ownership in correlation with their relationship and family status.
According to the study, 58% of unmarried couples would consider buying a house prior to getting married.
“Men are twice as likely to have cold feet – 30% say they would not feel comfortable buying real estate with a partner before marriage compared to only 15% of women who are opposed to the idea,” the survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 24-and-50 found.
· 25% of Americans would begin looking at real estate with someone they’ve been dating for six months
· Single women are twice as likely as single men to buy a home
· 75% of women hoping to buy a home have saved 20K or more for a down payment, compared to only 69% of men hoping to buy a home
· Single, divorced, or widowed women are 2.5x as likely to have started saving for a down payment compared to men at a similar life stage
Going It Alone
Why are single Americans so passionate about buying a home without a partner? And why do unmarried couples view homeownership as more important than getting hitched?
The answer includes some good old-fashioned pragmatism along with shifting attitudes on who should buy a home and why.
“As a society, we have pushed this agenda of you need to be independent and self-supporting, that plays into the overall view of housing,” said ECLIPSE Cottages chief executive officer Justin Draplin. “We’ve seen the dynamic play out in particular with divorced individuals – that desire to live independently becomes stronger after a divorce.”
Fifty years ago, the idea of a single individual owning a home was just about taboo, and mortgage lenders liked it that way.
“The Equal Credit Opportunity Act forced banks to offer loans and credit — including home loans — to women without requiring a male cosigner,” said NerdWallet home expert Kate Wood. “We’re not that many generations away from women not being able to get their own credit cards, let alone buy houses.”
Homebuying Tips for Single Americans?
Without having a partner who may provide income, single homebuyers have an uphill climb when it comes to home affordability.
“Buying a home as a one-person household generally means that you have less buying power since you don’t have a second person’s income,” Wood noted. “Not having a second person also means that you have total control over the finances.”
Taking a closer look at some new-age starter homes may cut costs and get more single buyers and unmarried couples into home ownership.
“We’ve found that small cottages, or tiny homes, have become a go-to housing option for single people, especially women,” Draplin told TheStreet. “With their growing popularity, there are financing options that can help someone get into a cottage and finance it with no or little money down at better terms than a traditional mortgage.”
It’s also advisable to know your budget and stick to it.
“Have a cushion,” said Premier Sotheby’s International Realty global advisor Jessica Grier. “Be sure to have a six-month rainy-day reserve for your mortgage payment.”
Take advantage of inspections during your review period, Grier noted.
“The days of sellers getting away with no inspections are over,” she said “As a buyer, be sure to do your due diligence so you know what you’re getting into with your investment and that you’re prepared for potential future costs.”