Single female homebuyers continue to remain a driving force in the home buying market according to the latest 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released by the National Association of Realtors  (NAR) on Monday.
The survey, which identifies current consumer and housing trends revealed that single female buyers made up 18 percent of the overall homebuyer demographic and came second to the most common demographic of married couples (63 percent).
While single male buyers came in at only 9 percent, the survey found that they were likely to purchase a more expensive home compared to their female counterparts. Single males were more likely to purchase homes with a median price of $215,000 compared with single female homebuyers whose budget was more likely to hover around the $189,000 range.
Overall though, the survey found that first-time homebuyers struggled the most when it came to purchasing a home.
“With the lower end of the housing market–smaller, moderately priced homes–seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time homebuyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR.
The survey indicated that the share of first-time homebuyers fell 33 percent continuing a decline that has been observed for the past three years.
“Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices. These factors contributed to the low number of first-time buyers and the struggles of would-be buyers dreaming of joining the ranks of homeownership,” Yun said. “Low inventory, rising interest rates and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers.”
To find the right home, buyers continued to rely on agents and the internet, the survey revealed, with 95 percent of the buyers surveyed said that they used the internet at some point during their search and 50 percent saying that they found the home they purchased through an online search. Repeat buyers were more likely to use agents in their home search (87 percent) compared to first-time buyers (86 percent). The top factors that these buyers desired from their agents were finding the right home and negotiating the terms of sale.
When it came to down payment, the survey found that buyers paid a median 13 percent down payment, up from 10 percent last year and the highest since 2005. "First-time buyers paid a median 7 percent down payment, up from 5 percent last year and the highest since 1997 (9 percent), while repeat buyers paid a median 16 percent, up from last year’s 14 percent and the highest since 2010," the survey said.
To read the complete findings of the survey, click here .