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(Updated March 2016)

The real estate market in the United States is comprised of a great diversity of buyers, each with unique needs and concerns. Understanding how to best serve these unique needs will assist you establishing an outstanding service and reputation for your real estate business. Single home buyers represent a sizeable portion of home buyers in the current residential real estate market, and are an audience worth knowing and understanding. This updated Field Guide will help you to learn about the needs, concerns, and buying behaviors of single home buyers. (A. Creitz, Information & Web Content Specialist)

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According to the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

  • First time buyers are more likely to be single females
  • Single female buyers made up 18% of 2014 first-time home buyers
  • Single male buyers made up 11% of 2014 first-time home buyers

Single Home Buyer Statistics

Single home buyers comprised 24% of home purchases in 2014. Single female buyers averaged 50 in age (32 for first-time buyers and 58 for repeat buyers), and single male buyers averaged 45 in age (30 for first-time buyers and 54 for repeat buyers) (Ex. 1-16).

For more statistics on single home buyers, including reasons for purchasing a home, average income, desired type of home and neighborhood, see the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Single Women Are Big Homebuyers in Chicago, (Chicago Tribune, Feb. 2016).

Single Women a Force in Nashville Real Estate Market, (The Tennessean, Aug. 4, 2014).

Single Women Outpace Unmarried Men in Homeownership! (MadameNoire, Dec. 4, 2013).

Single and First-time Buyers Stifled by Lending Standards, (Ocean City Today, Nov. 15, 2013).

NAR: Tight Credit Barring Singles, First-Times from Homeownership, (MoneyNews, Nov. 5, 2013).

Single Women Take Up Large Share of Home Buyers, Study Says, (Southern Daily Press, Sept. 4, 2013).

Profile Types of Home Buyers, (National Association of REALTORS® Research, Nov. 2013).

Single Women Buy More Homes than Single Men, (Originator Times, Aug. 20, 2013).

Five Reasons Single Women are Buying Homes at Twice the Rate of Single Men, (Dame Magazine, June 2013).

10 Best Cities for the Young, Broke and Single, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 2013).

Lending Standards, Rising Rents Box in Single Buyers, (UPI, Feb. 19, 2013).

NAR Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers Shows Dual Income Couples Fueling Market, (National Association of REALTORS® News Release, Nov. 10, 2012).

Profile of Single Male Home Buyers, (National Association of REALTORS® Economists' Outlook, Apr. 1, 2011).

Profile of Single Female Buyers, (National Association of REALTORS® Economists' Outlook, Mar. 28, 2011).

Single Home Buyer Tastes

Those grouped in the category of "single home buyers" exhibit a great diversity of tastes and requirements. Understanding some key home requirements for the varied needs within this group will assist you in matching your single home buyer clients with their ideal property.

The Real State of Real Estate, (Consumer Reports, Jan. 2016).

Home Owners More Attractive than Renters, Singles Say, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 14, 2012).

7 Best Cities for Wealthy Singles, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 27, 2012).

Broke and Single: Why it Pays to Be Married*, (The Fiscal Times, Sept. 13, 2012).

*Editor’s Note: the title is slightly misleading: this article includes some great facts about singles and their buying behaviors.

Neighborhood Choice, (National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook, Dec. 4, 2012).

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Statistics State of the Nation’s Housing report, published in 2012, “Homeownership rates for non-family households, which include a substantial share of single persons, have also change relatively little [from the mid-2000s], (p. 18).” To view the full report, click here.

Marketing to Single Buyers

Marketing experts will tell you there are some rule-of-thumb Dos and Don'ts when marketing to singles. The articles below offer some ideas to help you walk the walk and talk the talk of single buyers.

For Some Young Singles, Mortgage Easier to Get than a Credit Card, (Herald Net, Sept. 14, 2014).

Some Singles See Value in Mortgage Payment, (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 31, 2014).

More American Singles Want to Buy Homes Now, Survey, (Realty Today, Aug. 22, 2014).

All the Single Buyers, (Sentinel, June 12, 2014).

REALTORS® Discuss the Importance of Commuting Costs, Traffic to Homebuyers, (National Association of REALTORS® Press Release, May 16, 2014).

Advice for Single Buyers

3 Tips for Single Female Home Buyers, (Time, Sept. 2015).

Being a Single Buyer, (The Chronicle Herald, Sept. 6, 2014).

Smart Moves: Tips for all the Single Buyers, (The Valley Breeze, July 15, 2014).

Single and Thinking of Buying a Home: Here’s Some Advice, (Money, June 24, 2014).

Single Women: Is Buying a Home Right for You?, (USA Today, Nov. 30, 2013).

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Kiplinger’s Money Smart Women (OverDrive Audiobook)

Buying a Home When You're Single (Adobe eReader)

Financing Your Condo, Co-Op, or Townhouse (Adobe eReader)

Home Buyer's Checklist: Everything You Need to Know—But Forget to Ask—Before You Buy a Home (Adobe eReader)

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Buying vs. Renting

Field Guide to Due Diligence for Home Buyers

Field Guide to Women Homebuyers

Field Guide to Working with First-Time Homebuyers

Information Services Blog

Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.