Single women comprise 16 percent of homebuyers nationwide, according to a National Association of Realtors study conducted last year. The study culled buyer information from county records, then mailed questionnaires to a national sampling of 93,502 homes, said Walter Malony, economic issues and media manager for the National Association of Realtors in Washington.
National and regional data was compiled based on more than 8,000 responses from the questionnaires.
In the Colorado region – which includes Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Idaho – single women accounted for 15 percent of home sales. Single men bought 10 percent of the homes. Married couples led the march toward increased sales, capturing 65 percent of national sales and 67 percent of sales in the Colorado region. Unmarried couples and others make up the rest of the sales.
Tyrone Adams, vice president for member services at the Colorado Association of Realtors, said the Colorado market is very localized, and while national trends hold true generally, details can differ significantly from city to city. The trend he’s seen recently is an increase in multiple offers on properties.
Longtime real estate agent Steve Anderson of Re/Max of Louisville agreed. Boulder County communities – such as Boulder, Louisville Lafayette, Erie and Longmont – each have their own flavor of housing stock and home buyers, influenced by availability, inventory and pricing, he said. Anderson has worked in Boulder County real estate for years, including founding the Re/Max of Louisville franchise in 1984. He’s seen the market cycle through highs and lows, but current interest rates are something new.
“I’ve been in this business for 40 years and have never seen interest rates this low,” Anderson said. It’s opened the home ownership door to a larger segment of the population.
“As far as affordability, it’s amazing. People who never thought they could buy can buy now,” he said. The new buyer influx creates a rolling effect, he said, as inventory drops and prices increase current home owners are spurred to sell.
“For families with kids that have been packed into their home, now they can get more out of it and can upgrade to a more spacious home,” Anderson said.
Mike Bader, a Realtor with Re/Max of Boulder, said he also saw an increase in lateral moves recently, with accruing equity prompting moves to more spacious homes or more favorable locations. A younger crowd – both single men and single women – bought last year, too, taking advantage of the low interest rates, although most singles tend to be in a long-term relationship, he said. Many Boulder buyers are relocating to the area for jobs in the technology sector or as professors at the University of Colorado, he said.
Young, single professionals, both men and women, came to Anderson to purchase homes in recent months, too, he said. Additionally, reflective of national data, some female buyers were making post-divorce purchases.
Home sales of more than $800,000 glimmered to life too, as jumbo loan financing loosened, he said. Additionally, a tight rental market and low interest rates have drawn investors to the table.
“Investors are saying if rental rates trend that high, then it makes sense to get into it now,” Anderson said.
An increase in investment and cash buyers is something Wendy Conder of Longmont-based Windemere Realty has seen in the past year, too.
“There’s been a lot of cash that has sat out on the sidelines waiting to feel more comfortable, and that’s coming back into the market,” Conder said. Conder, an agent with three decades of experience, sells primarily in Boulder County, Longmont, Firestone and Frederick.
In the past year, she’s seen more young, single men purchase homes than single women.
“They’ve all had jobs they’ve been in … that they feel secure enough in to make that commitment,” Conder said. She’s seen lateral moves by singles and families increase, too, with an overall flavor of cautious optimism in the market. One difference from years past is a trend toward “smarter” buying, she said.
“I think in the past you saw more people hearing, ‘You can qualify for this,’ and they would max that out,” she said. “People are much more cautious in what they are buying.”
Folks aren’t just more aware of the bottom line either, she said, but ask questions about the neighborhood. They do more online research about nearby properties sales, Conder said.
“They are definitely more informed buyers.”