A Look at Today's Home Buyers

August 12, 2016 / Greg Hare, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer

A Look at Today's Home Buyers

The demographics of home ownership are changing. Groups that could once be relied upon to account for the largest share of home sales—baby boomers and Gen Xers—now trail behind millennials.

The 2016 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report reveals opportunities that may be surprising even to long-time industry observers. These include reaching out to successful single women and other groups who make up a large and growing segment of today's home buyers.

All the Single Ladies

The largest home-buying group after married couples in the NAR's report are single women, at 15 percent of all buyers. That was substantially higher than the proportion of single males, who made up only 9 percent. Single women account for more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994.

According to data from Pew Research Center, 38 percent of millennial women ages 25-32 have a bachelor's degree, compared to only 31 percent of men in the same age group. That's important, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that college graduates own homes at a much higher rate than their counterparts who finished only high school.

Thirty-two years old is the median age of single women who are first-time home purchasers, the NAR reported. Older single women are even more likely to purchase a home. Twenty percent of buyers between 51 and 60 years of age are single women. Single men in the same age group account for only 10 percent of the home buyer share.

The State of Hispanic Homeownership Report documented a 12-month surge in the Hispanic home ownership rate, from 44.5 percent in December 2014 to 46.7 percent just one year later.

Minority Home Ownership on the Rise

For the first time since 2009, the rate of Hispanic home ownership and the number of households owned by Hispanics has increased, according to the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report.

A joint effort by the Hispanic Wealth Project and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the report documented a 12-month surge in the Hispanic home ownership rate—from 44.5 percent in December 2014 to 46.7 percent just one year later.

Data from the NAR showed that the 36-50 age group was the most racially diverse of all home buyer segments. Twenty-five percent of this group identified as Hispanic/Latino, African American, or Asian/Pacific Islander. Meanwhile, 17 percent of middle-aged buyers were foreign born—nearly double the percentage of any other age cohort.

Married Couples, Young Buyers Still Out in Front

It's no big surprise the largest segment of the home-buying population continues to be married couples. In fact, they make up 67 percent of all home purchasers, according to the NAR report. Unmarried couples, on the other hand, account for just 7 percent.

Buyers 35 years and younger continue to prove a major generational force in the market, representing 35 percent of purchasers. The NAR reported that 67 percent of these buyers were getting into the game for the first time, usually to purchase a detached single-family home (by far the most popular of home types).

Greg Hare

As chief customer officer, Greg Hare is responsible for all customer service functions across United Guaranty. In this role, he leads the Customer Experience department and transformational efforts in creating a customer-centric culture throughout United Guaranty. Hare also oversees the Marketing and Communications group, which handles all internal and external communications and marketing efforts for the company, including advertising, brand management, public and media relations, employee communications, and community affairs, including charitable giving. He joined United Guaranty in February 2012 and previously was with AGL Resources, a natural gas holding company based in Atlanta. Prior to that, he held a variety of positions with marketing and advertising agencies in both Atlanta and New York, working on campaigns for brands like Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, Holiday Inn, and ESPN, among others. He earned both a BA in advertising and an MBA from the University of Florida.

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