Single Homebuyers Face “Headwinds,” Says National Association of Realtors

The annual Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers is just out from NAR (the National Association of Realtors). The biggest news is a drop in the number of unmarried home buyers. While they formed 32% of the market back in 2009, they’ve dropped to a mere 25% of the market today.

What’s up? (Or down?) It’s certainly not that everyone is getting hitched. At the end of 2011, a Pew Research Group study found that marriage rates in the U.S. had hit all-time lows, with scarcely half of U.S. adults married. (No wonder I haven’t been invited to any weddings lately!)

NAR’s vice president of research, Paul Bishop, explains the trend this way: “We’ve known for some time that stringent mortgage credit standards have been holding back home sales, but these findings show single buyers have been hurt the most over the past two years.  Total home sales would be 10 to 15 percent higher without these unnecessary headwinds.”

In other words, without two incomes, your chances of qualifying for a loan are reduced.

That doesn’t mean that single homebuyers should give up. But if you’re thinking of buying your first home, you might want see how closely you fit within NAR’s other statistics for first-timers, including:

  • a median age of 31
  • a median income 0f $61,800
  • average home size of 1,600 square-foot
  • average home cost of $154,100.

If you’re a 21-year old hoping to buy a $200,000 home on an income of $31,000, the odds aren’t looking so good — depending, of course, on where you live and what a mortgage broker or banker tell you about your qualifications. For tips on buying as a single female, see Nolo’s article, “Single-Woman Homebuyers: What to Consider.”