The Changing Demographics of Homebuyers

Record numbers of single women are becoming first-time home buyers.

Female homebuyers are on the rise.   In a study that analyzes the U.S. Census’ Current Population Survey from 1981 until 2017, Veritas Urbis Economics found that the rising population of homebuyers are not young and male, but are older and female.

In 1981, female homebuyers were just 18.9 percent of all buyers.  By 2017, that number had risen to 46.4 percent.   These aren’t just women with families either: in 1981, just 9.1 percent of buyers were single women.  That number grew to 18.9 percent in 2017.

Veritas Urbis Economics notes that these demographic shifts are likely due to the increasing number of educated women.  In 1981, just 11.1 percent of women held a bachelor’s degree, while 25.1 percent of women have a degree now.  Additionally, more women are working now compared to 1981.  The percentage of women at work increased from 35.3 percent in 1981 to 42.5 percent in 2017.

If you’re a single woman who wants to buy a house, the good news is the market is wide open for you.

  • More than one in five home buyers is a single woman.
  • Twice as many unmarried women are buying homes than single men.
  • Female homebuyers make up more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994.

Additionally, an increasing number of these homebuyers, men and women alike, are childless.  The share of childless homebuyers hit an all-time low in 2017, at 40.7 percent, down from 51.4 percent in 1981.  Not just childless buyers either: single person households increased from 15.3 percent in 1981 to 21.2 percent in 2017.  However, the share of all households made up of childless households fell by 20.4 percent, which Veritas Urbis Economics notes imply that the trend towards increasing childless homebuyers represents a broader demographic twin.

Many of these female homebuyers are in the 55+ range, a drastic shift from 1981.  The share of homebuyers made up of households aged 55 and over has grown to 27.8 percent in 2017 from just 16.1 percent in 1981.  Meanwhile, 35 and under buyers are dropping, falling to 33.7 percent in 2017 from a high of 52 percent in 1981.  The 35-54-year-old demographic makes up the highest percentage of homebuyers, jumping by 20.5 percent since 1981.



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