More singles than ever before are moving into the housing market.
One-third of last year's first-time homebuyers were singles, up from 25 percent the previous year, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors.
The study, which was released at the NAR's recent convention in New Orleans, found the trend reflects the overall growth in non-traditional households, caused by higher divorce rates and a growing tendency of young people to postpone marriage "while getting on with their economic lives," said the NAR's chief economist, John A. Tuccillo.
Demographic studies indicate the number of households headed single people is likely to grow, and along with it, Mr. Tuccillo noted, will be the trend of singles to become homeowners.
Singles were motivated to buy their first home primarily because of the investment potential and tax advantages over renting.
Married couples listed a need for more space as the major factor intheir decision to buy.
Singles, however, are less likely to join the move-up market. Last year, they represented only 16 percent of that market.
The reason, the study suggests, is that most buyers are motivated to move up because of the need for more space.
And those in that category tend to be married couples with children.