The number of people purchasing their first home, especially Millennials, could be impacted negatively by shifting demographics as the median age for marriage is rising.
A recent survey by NeighborWorks America, the Washington, D.C.-based affordable housing organization, found that 43% the respondents said they intended to buy a home when they “got married or moved in with a life partner.” The median age for a first marriage has risen to 29.3 years old for men and 27 years old for women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2000, men first got married at 26.8 years old while the median age for women was 25.1 years old.
Other respondents said they would wait to buy a home when other changes occurred, with 22% who will purchase one when they have children and 18% who are still seeking their first full-time job.
Many Millennials are delaying the purchase of a home because not only are they waiting until they are older to get married, a large percentage are also saddled with a large amount of student loans. The survey also demonstrated that 57% respondents admitted that student loans were either “very much” or “somewhat” of an obstacle, a rising concern compared to 49% who expressed this sentiment in 2014.
“Homeownership rates are likely being impacted by declining marriage rates as life events that impact the composition of the household are drivers of housing demand,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of Realtor.com, the San Jose, Calif.-based real estate service company. “Student debt, limited savings and housing affordability are substantial obstacles facing Millennials as they consider the path to home ownership, and those issues are all connected.”
Another compelling factor is that with two incomes, couples are more likely to qualify for a mortgage and have enough savings for a downpayment.
“Having more singles means fewer households are in a financial position to buy,” he said. “So with fewer young married households, there would be less demand for owning.”