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More Young Unmarried Couples Buying Homes Together

Almost 15 percent of all young homebuyers are unmarried couples, up from 11 percent prior to the recession. The percentage of homebuyers who are single has been declining since 2010.

Feb 8, 2017

SEATTLE, Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The share of young unmarried couples buying homes together has been on the rise over the past decade, according to a new Zillow® analysis[i]. Across the country, almost 15 percent of all homebuyers age 24-35 are unmarried couples, up from 11 percent in 2005.

Of the markets analyzed[ii], Washington, D.C. had the greatest increase in the share of unmarried homebuyer couples -- almost 16 percent of all young homebuyers in D.C. are unmarried couples, up from 7.5 percent in 2005. Philadelphia and Miami also had large increases in the share of young unmarried couples buying homes together.

The majority of homebuyers have long been married couples, but as home values continue to rise, more unmarried couples are buying homes together since it's more affordable with two incomes.

Home values across the country are rising at their fastest pace since 2006, and some of the nation's hottest housing markets -- like Seattle, Denver and Portland, Ore. -- have surpassed peak home values reached during the housing bubble. The median home value in the U.S. is now $193,800 -- up 7 percent over the past year. As homes become increasingly expensive, the need to purchase a home with someone else becomes a necessity -- almost 75 percent of all buyers are married or in a relationship.

"Buying a home is a big part of The American Dream – equally shared by millennials and Baby Boomers alike – but it's becoming extremely difficult to make it work on a single income," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Many singles looking to purchase a home on their own may not make enough money to afford or qualify for a mortgage on their dream home. That makes buying a home with a significant other even more appealing, even if marriage isn't quite part of the picture. Simply put, buying a home is much easier with two incomes. Assuming home value growth continues to outpace income growth, I imagine this trend will continue."

While more unmarried couples are buying homes together, fewer singles are purchasing homes on their own. About 25 percent of all homebuyers age 24-35 are single, down from 28 percent in 2005[iii].

Columbus, Ohio had the greatest drop in the share of single homebuyers, followed by Las Vegas. In 2005, almost 40 percent of all young Columbus homebuyers were single. Now, it's less than 20 percent. Portland, Ore., which has the fastest home value growth in the country, has also had a large drop in the share of young singles buying homes -- there's been a 10 percentage point decline since 2005.

The median age of today's homebuyer is 36 years old, and the majority shop with a significant other, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. Millennials, age 18-34, make up 42 percent of all buyers today -- the largest share of all generational groups.

Region Name

Zillow Home Value
Index (ZHVI)[iv]

Percent of Young
Homebuyers that
are Unmarried -
2005

Percent of Young
Homebuyers
that are
Unmarried -

2015

Percent of
Young
Homebuyers
that are
Single - 2005

Percent of
Young
Homebuyers
that are Single

- 2015

United States

$                  193,800

11.2%

14.6%

27.7%

25.4%

New York, NY

$                  402,700

9.5%

12.9%

27.7%

23.9%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

$                  594,100

8.1%

11.9%

27.6%

32.7%

Chicago, IL

$                  204,700

12.5%

10.9%

24.6%

33.8%

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

$                  201,400

8.7%

5.7%

22.2%

21.4%

Philadelphia, PA

$                  214,800

15.7%

23.4%

37.5%

22.1%

Houston, TX

$                  176,100

10.8%

11.8%

28.6%

21.0%

Washington, DC

$                  380,200

7.5%

15.7%

31.9%

25.8%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

$                  247,000

13.5%

18.4%

30.9%

29.0%

Atlanta, GA

$                  173,300

7.7%

11.7%

37.9%

29.7%

Boston, MA

$                  412,300

15.4%

16.1%

25.0%

26.2%

San Francisco, CA

$                  829,700

6.9%

10.8%

30.1%

31.8%

Detroit, MI

$                  135,900

n/a

18.4%

37.0%

32.7%

Riverside, CA

$                  319,400

n/a

9.0%

25.8%

27.3%

Phoenix, AZ

$                  230,500

14.4%

14.6%

25.7%

27.1%

Seattle, WA

$                  413,700

11.0%

13.9%

25.6%

23.3%

Minneapolis-St Paul, MN

$                  236,200

n/a

14.9%

42.9%

25.2%

San Diego, CA

$                  529,500

n/a

10.6%

21.3%

25.5%

St. Louis, MO

$                  148,900

n/a

19.9%

29.1%

25.5%

Tampa, FL

$                  179,600

12.1%

16.0%

30.0%

23.6%

Baltimore, MD

$                  257,800

n/a

13.8%

27.3%

30.7%

Denver, CO

$                  355,400

n/a

14.1%

35.7%

26.2%

Pittsburgh, PA

$                  133,700

n/a

n/a

30.9%

33.5%

Portland, OR

$                  354,400

n/a

19.4%

29.4%

19.6%

Charlotte, NC

$                  168,000

n/a

n/a

38.9%

33.8%

Sacramento, CA

$                  352,700

n/a

n/a

n/a

34.3%

San Antonio, TX

$                  156,900

n/a

n/a

n/a

31.0%

Orlando, FL

$                  200,500

n/a

n/a

35.3%

28.0%

Cincinnati, OH

$                  148,700

n/a

n/a

40.6%

35.3%

Cleveland, OH

$                  130,700

n/a

n/a

35.3%

36.2%

Kansas City, MO

$                  152,900

n/a

n/a

n/a

21.5%

Las Vegas, NV

$                  215,400

n/a

23.8%

47.0%

27.4%

Columbus, OH

$                  162,200

n/a

n/a

39.7%

17.7%

Indianapolis, IN

$                  134,300

n/a

n/a

n/a

35.1%

Austin, TX

$                  261,500

n/a

11.0%

30.1%

30.8%

Zillow
Zillow® is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow's Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Zillow also sponsors the bi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI) which measures consumer confidence in local housing markets, both currently and over time. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

[i] Zillow used The Census Bureau's American Community Survey data from 2005-2015 to find the percentage of young adults, age 25-35, who purchased homes in a given year. Zillow broke out the data by unmarried couples, married couples, and singles. 
[ii] Zillow analyzed 14 metros that had data on the share of homebuyers that are unmarried couples. 
[iii] The percent of young homebuyers that are single peaked in 2010 at 31 percent. 
[iv] The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) is the median estimated home value for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. It is expressed in dollars, and seasonally adjusted.

 

SOURCE Zillow

For further information: Jordyn Lee, Zillow, press@zillow.com


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