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Why Single Homebuyers Are Running Out of Options

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Housing Markets

Why Single Homebuyers Are Running Out of Options

Rising prices and shrinking opportunities are creating a difficult market for single buyers.


October 26, 2021
New homebuyer holds keys in front of house
Image: Stock.adobe.com

In the last 40 years, the number of one-person households in the United States doubled, reaching 36.1 million in 2020, Realtor.com reports.

Single homebuyers entering the market are facing high nationwide demand and a shrinking number of entry-level homes, leaving them with very few options at competitive prices.

Solo people heading up their own households are a growing part of the population. The number of one-person households in the United States doubled in the last 40 years, rising to 36.1 million in 2020 from 18.2 million in 1980. Of that group, 19% identify as members of the millennial generation, while another 19% belong to Gen X. About 39% of sole-person households identify as baby boomers and 3% as Gen Z.

But, as the number of single people looking to put down roots is rising, the pool of available options is shrinking. The supply of entry-level housing, which Freddie Mac defines as homes up to 1,400 square feet, is near a five-decade low.

The result is bidding wars on properties, with some young people being cut out of the wealth growth that homeownership can bring. At the same time, older Americans hoping to downsize are now often stuck in their homes longer, adding to a broader supply shortage.

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