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More Singles Are Choosing to Buy Own Homes

August 01, 1993|From a Times Staff Writer

Singles are the fastest growing segment of the population and more and more of them are choosing to buy their own homes rather than rent. From 1980 to 1990, the homeownership rate for singles rose from 45% to nearly 50%, while the rate fell for all other household types, according to the National Assn. of Home Builders (NAHB).

In 1960, single-person households made up 13% of the population; in 1990 their share had risen to 25%. It may go as high as 29% by the year 2000, according to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

There are several reasons for the growth in single households: People are living longer; more people have been getting divorced and not remarrying; more people are widowed; more people are waiting longer before marrying, and more people are not marrying at all.

Three major sub-markets make up the singles population: elderly widowed over age 64; middle-aged divorced and separated, age 35 to 64; and young never-married, under age 35.

Elderly widows are the most likely to own their own homes, but middle-aged singles are catching up. In fact, from 1980 to 1990, homeownership among this group grew 10%. By 1990, about 50% of middle-aged singles owned homes. Young singles are the least likely to buy a home.

People living alone tend to live in smaller homes than people who live with others. Owners who live alone tend to have smaller spaces than others and three-quarters of all solo renters live in less than 1,000 square feet. People living on their own also are more likely to live in multifamily apartments; eight out of 10 single renters choose apartments.

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