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The Usual Suspects: Break Down of American Home Buyers

David Cross

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The Usual Suspects: Breakdown of American Home Buyers

Who is the typical home buyer? The answer isn’t surprising. According to National Association of Realtors, the largest category home buyers are married couples. After this it’s single females, single males, and unmarried couples.

But that doesn’t mean each group looks for the same thing. Below are the four largest groups of home buyers. How do you compare?

The Single Female

Single females make up 18 percent of the housing market, and like everyone on this list are more likely to purchase a home in the ‘burbs or a subdivision. Two surprising statistics are that single female home buyers have a median age of 47, making them the oldest home buyers, and the homes they purchase are generally the smallest. The median size of a single female home buyer’s new house is 1,500 square feet.

What single female home buyers care about when choosing a new home is similar to other home buyers. They look at the overall quality of a neighborhood. Other things this group uses to evaluate a home are its overall affordability, convenience to friends and family, convenience to job, and design of the neighborhood.

The Single Male

Single males make up 10 percent of the housing market. The median size of their new home is 1,570 square feet, the second smallest. Only single female home buyers have smaller homes. A single male home buyer’s median age is 45. This is on par with the age of married couples purchasing a home.

A single male home buyer values the overall quality of a neighborhood the most. After this they consider the overall affordability, convenience to job, convenience to friends and family, and the design of neighborhood.

While some might point out that single males value a home’s convenience to their job, surprisingly married couples and unmarried couples value this quality higher.

The Unmarried Couple

An unmarried couple makes up 7 percent of home buyers. This type of home buyer is typical younger than their contemporaries—much younger. The median age of an unmarried couple home buyer is 33. The couple’s new home is the second largest with a median size of 1,760 square feet.

Unsurprisingly, an unmarried couple values the overall quality of a neighborhood when purchasing a house; the same as each group on this list. The second most valued aspect is the home’s convenience to their workplace. After this they look at overall affordability, convenience to friends and family, and the design of the neighborhood.

The Married Couple

The behemoth of the housing market, married couples make up 64 percent of home buyers—more than all other groups combined. This titan’s home is also the largest of the groups. The median size of a married couple’s home is 2,100 square feet.

When it comes to age, married couple home buyers fall into the middle of the pack. The group’s median age is 45.

Married couple home buyers share similarities with unmarried couple home buyers.  When asked what they cared about most when purchasing a home, both groups were in lockstep. Married couple home buyers care about:

  • quality of a neighborhood;
  • convenience to work;
  • overall affordability;
  • convenience to friends and family; and
  • design of the neighborhood.

What’s It All Mean

Now that we have pulled back the curtain on who is buying homes, we can safe to say the percentage at which these four groups purchase homes has remained relatively steady over the past decade. Unless there’s a drastic change, married couples will remain the predominant home buyers.

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posted on: June 8, 2012
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