first-time homebuyer

According to Zillow, 40 percent of first-time homebuyers are married now, compared to 52 percent two decades ago.

Who needs a spouse to buy a first house? Not too many folks anymore.

According to new research from Zillow, only 40 percent of first-time homebuyers are married today, down from 52 percent in the late ’80s.

Why is this? First, fewer people are getting married in general. Barely half of adults (51 percent) were married in 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Marriage increasingly is being replaced by cohabitation, single-person households, and other living arrangements (mom and dad’s house!).

They’re also waiting longer to get married—the median age for first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 20 for women and 23 for men back in 1960, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

This real estate trend is showing up in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. One example: ReMax Realtor Ken Lampton says he has a lot of unmarried professional women buying in the Lakewood and Lower Greenville areas of Dallas.

“They don’t have children, so schools aren’t a concern, and they are willing to buy a smaller house in order to be closer to downtown Dallas,” Lampton said.

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starbucks

If you think coffee is only good for getting you moving in the morning, this new study will wake you up. Apparently, it can also provide a jolt nearby home values.

That’s according to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries. In their New York Times bestseller, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, they crunched the numbers and found that houses located within a quarter mile of a Starbucks location appreciated more quickly than houses overall.

Rascoff and Humphries knew the traditional guideline for finding real estate that would appreciate the most – good schools, easy access to major job centers, or a quick drive to the grocery store. They wanted to dig deeper.

“We were looking for other markers that could tell us where home values would appreciate the most, and in doing the research, we found that if you live near a coffee shop, chances are your house outperforms other houses further away,” Humphries said. “When we dug even deeper, we found that living close to a specific coffee shop – Starbucks – was the best indicator your house would out-perform other houses in the area.”

This trend held true nationwide, although results varied by region. In North Texas, there was a 7.2 percent difference during the time measured.

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Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

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