How Single Adults Are Changing The Real Estate Market And Why

Comments by Mary Beth Harrison with Dallas Native Team | Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate…

“Good information and a mirror of my real estate clients.  I sell both to many single buyers as well as living that lifestyle myself. I talk to some who have leased for years and watched their rents raise yearly, not to mention pay the owner’s mortgage. Why not buy and know what your payment will be for the foreseeable future. Especially now while interest rates are hovering at all time lows. Even if they go up a full point (and they will eventually) you would be surprised at what you can buy versus what you are paying in rent. Add to that the tax benefits some can claim on their Federal Tax return and the cost becomes even more attractive.”

How Single Adults Are Changing The Real Estate Market And Why

In 1969, Three Dog Night sang, “One is the loneliest number.” Is it time to retool that to, “One is the happiest number”?

I’ve written before that homebuilding in the US is short millions of homes as a result of the continuing underbuilding that began in 2008 (hereherehere). In Dallas, we’re tens of thousands of housing units behind which has caused housing prices to dramatically rise since 2012, hampering affordability.

Single Households Doubled Since 1960

At the same time, a longer-term trend towards single-person households continues to rise from roughly 7 million in 1960 to 37 million in 2019 according to Census data. While some of the growth is attributed to population growth, as a percentage, single households more than doubled from 13 percent to 28 percent during the same period.

That’s a lot more housing units for a market that’s an afterthought to builders. And it’s different housing. Singletons might purchase a large home, but childless singletons don’t need unending bedroom counts. We don’t need formal and informal spaces. We don’t need separation. Personally, I now live in 2,500 square feet with just two bedrooms and oversized entertaining/living spaces. Condos have this type of product, single-family or townhomes, less so.

At the smaller end, singletons may stay in “starter” housing longer because their “start” may also be their “finish.” This upsets the conveyor belt of continually trading up as family grows before cashing out and downsizing in retirement.

The Market is Geared Toward Single-Family

In a quick search of the upper end, there was one single-family home priced over $1 million between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet with just two bedrooms – promoted as a teardown. Between $750,000 and $1 million there were two (herehere). The search tool also seems to bend away from singletons with only “minimum bedrooms” selectable but no maximum – as though more bedrooms is always better. Just like every home needs one bathtub, singletons looking for a detached (versus “single-family”) home are told that bedrooms are needed for resale – assuming a singleton’s homeownership to be a blip.

I know when I watch home improvement TV shows, rarely are the homebuyers single. Rarely are their slightly different needs even discussed.

Single homebuyers tailor their needs to the product available much more than coupled or multi-person households – because almost everything but the one-bedroom condo/apartment is built with more than one occupant in mind.

“Nonfamily = unmarried. “Other family” = singletons

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