How Single Buyers Are Affecting The Construction Industry

Single home buyers comprise 28% of all households. That’s 35 million homes in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is “one of the biggest demographic trends of the past 50 years.” A combination of factors, including people living longer, marrying later or not at all, higher divorce rates, fewer kids, and greater financial freedom for women all play a part in this demographic change.

The 2017 Census Bureau found that of more than 120 million U.S. citizens, 48% of adults 18 and older, are divorced, widowed, or never married. That is a huge change from 1970 when of 39 million adults, only 29%, were single. Baby boomers divorced at nearly double the rate of previous generations between 1990 & 2015. Perhaps as a result of the older generation’s divorce rate, Gen Xers and millennials are forgoing marriage altogether. Only about 20% of 18-29 year olds are married compared to 60% of the same age group in 1960. Experts believe the single home buyer trend will continue to grow over the coming years.

Women Are Leading The Singles Market

Of the singles who make up more than quarter of all home buyers, women comprise the vast majority. Single females make up 18% of home buyers while single men make up only 8%. Single women seek out homes in communities that emphasize safety and security. Many women prefer high-density attached homes that provide more safety.

What Needs To Change

The current housing stock and community layouts are not designed for single home buyers – nationally, less than 1% of housing is studio and only 11% are one-bedrooms. Home builders cannot ignore the difference in supply and demand. Contractors must keep in mind that singles generally have half the income of a couple. They are looking for lower median housing – most single men make around $36,600 a year, while single women make $26,355. This is in stark contrast to the $85,087 brought in by the average couple.

Cash In On The New Market

Contractors can cash in on this new market by building low-income homes designed for single people. Single clients need to see the opportunity to grow within their home. Flexible spaces and adaptability to lifestyle changes are crucial. Builders should think about how a space can be changed as a single home buyer’s life changes. For example, it used to be common place to divide the upstairs of a house into bedrooms. Today’s singles may prefer an open space for watching movies or working out – knowing that the space can be divided at a later date if the need arises.