Curve

Single homeownership is on the rise — especially in these age groups

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Single and ready for homeownership

Single and ready to buy a home? Apparently, your chances are better than they’ve ever been. According to a new analysis, single homeownership is at its highest rate since at least 1900.

Single homeownership is at an all-time high

Single Americans now own nearly 40% of the country’s housing stock, according to a new analysis from Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Haus.

According to McLaughlin, the jump in these shares boils down to something pretty simple: fewer people are getting married.

“Why are singles increasingly owning homes?,” McLaughlin asks. “There are many reasons, but the elephant in the room is that there is a higher share of the U.S. population that is single.”

At the gender level, single males account for about 15% of all homeowners, while almost a quarter are female. Consistently, the female share of single homeowners has always been larger. McLaughlin says there are three reasons behind this: a higher number of widowers among women, a smaller likelihood of remarriage, and a larger number of women than men, population-wise.

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The most single homeowners

Interestingly, an increasing share of today’s single homeowners are younger and have never been married at all. In fact, of the nation’s under-35 homeowners, about a third have never been married, while nearly 15% of those 35 to 54 haven’t either. 

Previously, high divorce rates drove homeownership rates among singles. Since 2000, though, rates of divorce have actually fallen — at least among these age groups. 

Geographically speaking, the most single, under-35 homeowners are seen in Des Moines, Iowa, where they make up 23.7% of all homeowners. Detroit also claims a high share at 21%. 

The smallest shares are in high-cost Western cities like Provo, Utah (only 4.8% of homeowners are single and under 35), San Jose, Calif. (6.8%), and San Diego (7.9%).

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