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singles buying

While saving up for a down payment and closing costs can be difficult, the U.S. Census Bureau says that individuals in some cities are increasingly buying over renting. According to a recent report, almost three out of 10 owner-occupied homes are one-person households, which means that 36.2 million homes in 2020 were owned by single homeowners. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to identify and rank the cities where single homeowners are buying the most.

To do this, we looked at single homeownership rates in 2015 and 2019 for the 100 largest cities in the country and compared them. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s third version of our study on where single homeownership rates are rising. Read the 2020 version here.

Key Findings

  • Single homeownership overall has seen a slight decline. In the 100 cities that we analyzed, the net change in the percentage of single people who own their own home is actually a slight decrease of 0.56%. More than half of the cities in this study actually saw a decrease, with the biggest drop coming in Laredo, Texas – individual homeownership there went down by nearly 13 percentage points.
  • Four cities from 2020 rank again in 2021. While there has been some movement in the top 10 between this year’s study and the 2020 edition, four cities cracked the top 10 in both years. These are Anaheim, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; Mesa, Arizona; and Henderson, Nevada. On average, these four cities had a 2019 single homeownership rate of about 50% and a four-year increase in this rate of about 6.00%.

1. Aurora, CO

This suburb of Denver tops our 2021 ranking as the city where most single homeowners are choosing to buy over rent. According to 2019 data, almost 60% of people living alone in Aurora own their home. This is a 10.58% jump since 2015. The city also has the second-highest 2019 single homeownership rate overall in the study, trailing only Chesapeake, Virginia.

2. Anaheim, CA

The single homeownership rate in Anaheim, California increased from 33.96% in 2015 to 42.74% in 2019, an increase of 8.78 percentage points. The median monthly housing costs for owners in this city are $2,095, compared to the monthly median rent of $1,733, which is only a difference of $362 between owning and renting.

3. Corpus Christi, TX

The single homeownership rate in Corpus Christi, Texas went up by 6.01% between 2015 and 2019. The median home value in this city is just $157,100 and the median monthly housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage come to $1,557.

4. Newark, NJ

Single homeownership in Newark, New Jersey has grown 5.15% in recent years, jumping from 15.23% in 2015 to 20.39% in 2019. The median home value in this city is $270,600. And the median monthly housing costs for homeowners with a mortgage amount to $2,184.

5. Atlanta, GA

Single homeownership in Atlanta, Georgia increased by 5.12% between 2015 and 2019. The overall median monthly housing costs in this city are $1,640 for homeowners, but that number goes up to $2,132 if you have a mortgage.

6. Mesa, AZ

Just over 50% of one-person households in Mesa, Arizona were owner-occupied homes in 2015. By 2019, that number was more than 55%, with a total increase of 5.03 percentage points over that period. Homes in Mesa are relatively affordable, with a median value of $259,300.

7. St. Petersburg, FL

Homeownership for single homeowners in St. Petersburg, Florida went up 4.43% between 2015 and 2019. The median monthly housing costs for owners this city with a mortgage total $1,558 – which is $380 more than the median monthly rent there of $1,178.

8. Boise, ID

Boise, Idaho has a 2019 single homeownership rate of 52.72%, which is 4.32% higher than it was in 2015. Even with a mortgage, the average home payments for owners with a mortgage in Boise are just $1,414 based on 2019 data – $371 more than the median monthly rent of $1,043.

9. Henderson, NV

The rate of single homeownership in Henderson, Nevada increased 4.20% between 2015 and 2019. The median monthly housing costs for homeowners in this city are actually lower than the median monthly rent – $1,376 versus $1,388. But if you look specifically at homeowners who are still paying off their mortgages, the median monthly housing costs go up to $1,778.

10. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, Louisiana’s homeownership rate for single homeowners in 2015 was 35.15%. By 2019 it had increased by 3.81% to 38.96%. The 2019 median monthly rent in The Big Easy is $1,010 and the median monthly housing costs are $1,164 for all homeowners ($1,683 for homeowners who are still paying off their mortgages).

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where singles are increasingly choosing to buy over rent, we looked at data on the 100 largest U.S. cities across two metrics:

  • Percentage of owner-occupied one-person households in 2015. This is the number of owner-occupied households as a percentage of all one-person households in 2015.
  • Percentage of owner-occupied one-person households in 2019. This is the number of owner-occupied households as a percentage of all one-person households in 2019.

Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2015 and 2019 one-year American Community Surveys.

To create our rankings, we calculated the difference between the percentage of owner-occupied one-person households in 2019 and the percentage in 2015. We ranked cities according to those that had the largest difference between those two years.

Homeownership Tips

  • Consult an expert. If you want to buy a home soon, a financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your home buying needs. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.
  • Don’t overlook closing costs. If you’re buying a home, closing costs should be factored in to the total cost you pay. Use SmartAsset’s free closing cost calculator to see what you might pay.
  • Consider the costs of renting vs. buying. Still thinking about whether you should rent or buy? SmartAsset’s rent vs buy calculator can help you come to a decision.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/valentinrussanov

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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