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January 2015

Postponed marriages a "game changer" for housing industry

January 2015 - NWREporter

Real estate professionals clearly understand the impact life stage changes can have on housing, so recent research by John Burns Real Estate Consulting may be of particular interest.

Its latest studies show significant changes in housing preferences associated with marital status and the addition and subtraction of children. That firm found that compared to 1970, the share of 25-29 year olds who are married is down by almost 48 percent for men and about 43 percent for women.  Authors of the study call that fact "one of the biggest game changers in the housing industry."

Changes centered on marital status and children affect where consumers want to live and influence what kind of home and community they choose. Among key findings:

  • Singles are more likely to rent and live in locations that are closer to entertainment and employment, and these areas are seeing more demand today than they have historically.
  • Marriage usually ignites the desire to own a home with a variety of locational and housing choices depending on income and family present.
  • Cohabitation has certainly been on the rise in recent decades, but homeownership rates for cohabitating couples are much lower than rates for married couples.
  • The addition of children makes owning a home almost a necessity, given the need for yards, toys, education, and social circles.
  • Children moving out often results in lifestyle changes, including different social circles, home size, and floor plan needs. Locational preferences also begin to shift.

The findings were based on Burns' Consumer Insights survey of more than 22,000 new home shoppers and its Housing Demand Model by Lifestage and Price Point.

John Burns Real Estate Consulting is a national source of independent housing research, analysis, advice and consulting. The California based firm work with builders/developers, banks/lenders, investors, building product manufacturers, governments and other decision makers.