More adults are single, here’s why you should care

by MPA13 Feb 2015
New numbers just in time for Valentine’s Day show half of U.S.  adults are single, which means the mortgage industry needs to find new ways to market to them, according to industry advisory group The Collingwood Group.

Collingwood Group Chairman Tim Rood said up until recently “the housing industry hated single people".  But he says, “now that there is a bull market in single people, the housing industry has to find new ways to get them to buy homes.”

Single Americans now make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976. Some 124.6 million Americans were single in 2014, 50.2% of those were 16 years or older, according to data used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many U.S. commenters have pointed to declines in the share of married people as a major contributing factor to the decrease in homeownership. However, the upcoming generation is no longer viewing marriage as a prerequisite to a mortgage, as they show some signs of committing to a house before a marriage, according to research from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

 "These key life-stage things impact when we buy, what we buy and where we buy," Mollie Carmichael, a principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, told the Los Angeles Times. "But ... young people today aren't living by the same rules as 20 or 30 years ago."

Rood said the industry must begin marketing to singles and “explain why owning a home is far superior to renting it".

With homeownership rates declining, the percentage of renters who want to be homeowners, while still very high (75%+), is lower than it was five years ago (over 80%), which could be tied to changes in societal behavior, according to The Collingwood Group.

Rood added that with rents rising faster than wages in the country’s 25 biggest metropolitan areas, “there is a rent affordability crisis". “People are paying 35% more a month for rent than they otherwise would in a home they owned.”