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single homeownership rate

Nearly 83% of renters have a desire to own their home, according to a National Association of Realtors poll. However with mortgage costs on the rise, it is difficult to switch from renting to buying. And buying a home can be even more difficult if you are single. However, there are some places where singles are bucking the renting trend and buying homes. Below we look data to find the cities with the highest single homeownership rate.

In order to find the places where singles have the highest homeownership rate, we looked at data on the number of one-person households who own their home in an area and compared it to the overall number of one-person households. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

Key Findings

  • Retirees cities – Seniors make up a large portion of the single homeownership market. For that reason, cities with large senior populations or cities where retirees are moving ranked high in this study. In total two of the top 10 cities where retirees were moving in 2017 ranked in the top 10 for this study.
  • Low home values – Places with lower median home values tended to have higher homeownership rates for singles. For example, the median home value for the top 50 ranked cities was $217,100. The median home value for the bottom 50 ranked cities was nearly 50% higher at $302,700.

single homeownership

1. Chesapeake, Virginia

The majority of one-person households in Chesapeake, Virginia are proud homeowners. In total there are about 83,300 households in Chesapeake. Of those, nearly 19,000 are one-person households. Over 12,000, or 64% of, one-person households own their homes.

It may not be a surprise that the single-homeownership rate is so high in Chesapeake, as the city-wide homeownership rate is nearly 71%.

2. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Just to the northeast of Chesapeake is Virginia Beach, the second-most popular city for single homeowners. Our data shows one-person households make up a quarter of the housing stock in Virginia Beach. We estimate that nearly 57% of all one-person households are owner-occupied.

3. Aurora, Colorado

About 26% of all Aurora households are occupied by singles. Of those, 55% own their home and 45% rent. That makes Aurora the city with the third-highest rate of single homeownership.

Compared to other cities, the single homeowners in Aurora are relatively young. Less than 40% of owner-occupied, one-person households are occupied by seniors. In cities like Chesapeake or Virginia Beach that number exceeds 45%.

4. Chandler, Arizona

Chandler has a relatively high homeownership rate and singles in the city are no exception. The citywide homeownership rate is about 61% and for singles it is 54%.

Despite being a popular place for retirees to move to, seniors do not make up significant portion of singles homeowners relative to other cities. We estimate that seniors make up 38% of all single homeowners.

5. Henderson, Nevada

Henderson, Nevada takes fifth. Around 53% of singles here own their home. That number is high and it is growing. From 2012 to 2016, the number of singles who owned their home grew from 51.8% to 53.4%.

The city also stands out for its median home value. At $291,100, Henderson has the second-highest median home value in our top 10. With such a high median home value, it is even more impressive that singles in Henderson are able to afford buying a home on their own.

6. Scottsdale, Arizona

Another Arizona city takes sixth. Scottsdale is the fourth-largest city in our top 10 and 65th overall in terms of total number of homes. Overall, residents in this city have had no trouble buying homes, single or not. Scottsdale has a homeownership rate of 65% and for singles that figure is 52%.

In terms of home value, Scottsdale and its homeownership figures are a bit of an outlier. Scottsdale has a median home value of $439,000, which is $150,000 more than Henderson and $170,000 more than Virginia Beach.

7. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne is a college town so it bucks the trend of retiree-friendly cities topping this list. This city has an overall homeownership rate of just over 60%, helped in part by low home values. The median home in Fort Wayne is worth only $108,400.

Overall singles have a slightly lower homeownership rate than the citywide rate. But at 51%, singles in Fort Wayne have a homeownership rate high enough to secure a top 10 spot.

8. Mesa, Arizona

Last year Mesa was the most popular spot for retirees, a fact reflected in our single homeownership data. This is no surprise as Arizona ranks highly for retirement tax-friendliness. Seniors own 52% of all the owner-occupied one-person households. That’s by far the highest rate in our top 10. No other city has a figure exceeding 50%.

In total a slim majority of one-person households are owner-occupied (50.9%), giving Mesa the eighth spot in this study.

9. Bakersfield, California

There are around 25,500 one-person households in Bakersfield. Around 12,800 of those are homeowners with the rest renting. That translates to a single homeownership rate of 50.3%. Interestingly, Bakersfield has one of the youngest cohorts of homeowning singles. About 62.5% of single homeowners are under the age of 65, the highest rate in our top 10.

10. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque rounds out our top 10. Fittingly, it is the last city where the majority of singles chose to buy a home rather than rent. To be more specific, 36,639 one-person households are owner-occupied out of 73,229 one-person households. That translates to a single homeownership rate of almost exactly 50%.

For singles the homeownership rate lags a bit behind the citywide homeownership rate of 60%.

single homeownership

Data and Methodology

In order to rank the places where singles have the highest homeownership rates, we looked at data for the largest 100 cities. Specifically we looked two factors:

  • Total number of one-person households. This is the number of one-person households.
  • Owner-occupied one-person households. This is the number of one-person households that own their home.

To find the places with the highest homeownership rate for singles, we divided the number of owner-occupied, one-person households by the total number of one-person households. We then ranked the cities from highest to lowest based on that figure.

Tips for Singles Buying a Home

  • Start saving before you’re ready to buy – Even before you are ready to buy a home you will need to start saving for a down payment. The earlier you start saving the sooner you can start buying. Depending on what the housing market is like in your area, a down payment could be worth one year of saving or 10 years of saving.
  • Find out what you can afford – Knowing how much home you can afford is the first step in any home-buying process. The worst thing you can do, single or not, is buy a home you cannot afford, which you then have to sell down the line.
  • Watch out for extras – Even if you have been diligent about only looking for homes with mortgages you can afford, there are a few other hurdles that may make a home unaffordable. Property taxes and homeowners insurance can make the difference between finding an affordable home and an unaffordable home. This is especially true if you are buying a home in states like New Jersey, New York or Illinois which have very high property taxes.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/andresr

Derek Miller, CEPF® Derek Miller is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where he studied economics. He is passionate about using data to help people make better financial decisions. Derek is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He is a data journalist whose expertise is in finding the stories within the numbers. Derek's writing has been featured on Yahoo, AOL, and Huffington Post. He believes the biggest financial mistake people make is waiting too late to save for retirement and missing out on the wonders of compounding interest. Derek lives in Brooklyn.
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