With low home prices and interest rates paired with government tax incentives for first-time home buyers, the market is seeing an influx of singles looking to buy. And it makes sense. The current housing environment seems to be the ideal marketplace for many people who have never considered buying a home before, such as singles and other first-time buyers. They can afford much more house for their money than in previous years, and many are recognizing that a mortgage payment can actually be the same or less than what they would spend on rent. But what are they really looking for when house hunting?
For greater insight into this demographic, earlier this month Coldwell Banker Real Estate conducted a national online survey of more than 1,000 single homeowners on what factors played in to their decision to purchase a home. The results may surprise you. For instance, while conventional wisdom may be that most singles are buying bachelor or bachelorette pads in the city or downtown areas, our survey found that the majority of single homeowners (52 percent) chose suburbia over urban or rural areas. That’s good news for sellers who are looking to move up from their suburban starter home. Chances are that a buyer may be just around the corner.
Here are some additional key findings from the Coldwell Banker Real Estate single homeowner survey:
- Why they buy. According to those surveyed, more than half (53 percent) of single homeowners reported that they purchased a home because it was more cost effective than renting in their area. However, more than just financial analysis contributed to their decision. The desire for independence played a role for more than one-third of single homeowners (35 percent).
- Finding good deals is important, but so are amenities. Even though their budget was higher, 68 percent of single homeowners say they purchased a home that was below their price range, rather than the most expensive home they could afford. Meanwhile, modernized home updates and appliances and having a yard and outside space were rated as the most desirable features in a home over lesser considerations like space for entertaining.
- They’ve flown the coop, but still get help from their parents. Of the 13 percent of single homeowners who own their home jointly with another person, almost half (49 percent) made the purchase with their parents.
- Singles hunt for homes that are close to work and family. Fifty-five percent have less than a 30-minute commute to their office or work from home, and 40 percent live less than 30 minutes, or even in the same neighborhood, as their parents or extended family. In fact, an additional 12 percent live with at least one family member.
- Single women may be more likely to think of growing their family than single men. More than a quarter of the single women surveyed (27 percent) said that the number of bedrooms was the most desirable feature in a home, as compared to 18 percent of men who agreed.
- Single and ready to … bargain hunt. Singles don’t shy away from foreclosures – especially single men. Thirty-eight percent would currently consider purchasing a foreclosed or short sale home, compared to 29 percent of single women.
It’s interesting to learn more about this growing trend in real estate. The face of the market is changing, which likely means so will the composition of your neighborhood. You may see more singles move in who are taking the next step toward their building their independence and a more secure future. I encourage you to remember back to how proud you were when you bought your house. Go over and introduce yourself, congratulate them on their big purchase and welcome them to the neighborhood.