Today’s First Time Homeowners …. Older And Single

These data should definitely grab the attention of brands and marketers everywhere, as it seems the profile of home buyer is changing along with changes in our nation’s demographics and society.

Today’s first-time home buyer is older and more likely to be single than first-time home buyers in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a new Zillow analysis.

House Sold Sign
Houses Sold In Recent Years Point to Changing Home Buyer Demographics

Zillow‘s study found that Americans are renting for an average of six years before buying their first homes. In the 1970s, they rented for an average of 2.6 years. They’re also spending a bigger chunk of their incomes to buy: In the 1970s, first-time home buyers bought homes that cost about 1.7 times their annual income. Now they’re buying homes that cost 2.6 times their annual income.

Part of that can be attributed to the housing markets where Millennials are moving: more expensive cities on the coasts, where there are growing job markets.

The average first-time home buyer is about 33, at the front end of the millennial generation. Their median income is $54,340, which is about the same as what first-time home buyers made in the 1970s, when adjusted for inflation.

In the late 1980s, 52 percent of first-time home buyers were married. Today, only 40% were married.

“Millennials are delaying all kinds of major life decisions, like getting married and having kids, so it makes sense that they would also delay buying a home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “We know Millennials value home-ownership and want to buy. The next challenge will be figuring out how they can save for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage, especially while the rental market is so unaffordable all over the country. The last hurdle will be finding a home they like amidst very tight inventory, especially among starter homes.”

Years Median Age Median Income (in 2011 dollars) Median Home Price (in 2011 dollars) Price-to-Income Percent Married Number of Family Members Median Years Renting
1970-1974 30.6 $52,831.53 $87,371.37 1.7 Not available 3 2.6
1974-1979 29 $54,869.55 $98,772.99 1.8 Not available 2.6 4.6
1980-1984 29.6 $51,178.56 $102,367.05 2 Not available 2 5
1985-1989 30.4 $58,296.90 $107,942.98 1.9 52% 2.4 4.4
1990-1994 32.2 $52,400.80 $98,697.29 1.9 44% 2 5
1995-1999 33.3 $51,418.35 $112,528.86 2.2 44% 2.3 5.5
2000-2004 33.5 $58,738.00 $144,796.52 2.5 47% 2 5.5
2005-2009 33.3 $58,087.91 $162,648.76 2.8 40% 2 6
2010-2013 32.5 $54,339.84 $140,327.58 2.6 40% 2 6

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Article based on data from Zillow

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