A new retrospective covering first-time homebuyer trends since 1981 reveals the change in their average age, how big their share is among all buyers, their household composition, and more.
In 1981, the share of first-timers among all homebuyers was 44 percent, with an average age of 29. Only 12 percent of these buyers were single women, and 13 percent were single men, while 68 percent first-time buyers were married couples, per The National Association of Realtors' data. In 2018, the average age of the first-time buyer was 46 years old, and this buying cohort made up 33 percent of all buyers. Single males had a 10 percent share in the first-time buying group, with single women at 18 percent. Unmarried couples had a 16 percent share, while marrieds accounted for 54 percent.
In 1989, first-time buyers largely rented an apartment before they bought their home at 80 percent, and 15 percent lived with parents, relatives, or friends. In 2018, the share of first-time buyers that lived in an apartment before they bought their home slipped to 71 percent while the share of those that had been living with parents, relatives, or friends previous to buying rose to 23 percent.