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Do married buyers have an edge?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 5, 2013 09:36 AM

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We are in a market where buyers are scrapping over a dwindling number of half-decent homes for sale.

And couples increasingly hold the edge, with the percentage of homes bought by couples, either married or living together, now making up nearly three-quarters of the market, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Frankly, it's quite a turnaround. Just a couple years ago, singles were the hot commodity in real estate, representing an ever growing percentage of home buyers.

But the Great Recession and its aftermath, for now anyway, appear to have reversed that trend.

Why? There's nothing mystical at work in my view, just the advantage of two incomes over one at a time when banks are skittish about lending to anyone, especially home buyers.

Two incomes make it easier to save up for a down payment and, if necessary, offer a more compelling bid.

Meanwhile, tighter mortgage standards may be taking a higher toll on single buyers, NAR finds in its report on shifting buying patterns,

Last year, 65 percent of buyers were married couples, while another 8 percent were unmarried, for a total of 73 percent, according to the real estate trade group.

By contrast, single buyers accounted for another 25 percent of the market - single women accounted for 16 percent, single men, 9 percent.

The final 2 percent were marked as "other," NAR reports.

That's a big shift from 2010, when 32 percent of the buyers in the market were singles and married couples accounted for 58 percent of the market.

Are you being outbid by two-income couples? Why are we seeing this change? Can we really blame it on the banks?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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