(courtesy of Realtormag, August 30, 2013)

More Americans are opting to live alone, with single buyers making up a quarter of all home purchases last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In the U.S., there are 33 million one-person households, and living solo is becoming an international trend, MSN Real Estate reports.

Why are so many living alone? People are marrying later, divorcing more, and living longer, sociologists say.

Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist and author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” says that young adults ages 18 to 34 are the fastest-growing group of people living alone. Solo households are also mostly women: 18 million women live alone versus 14 million men. The majority of solo households are in cities and metro areas.

Purchasing a home can be a means of self-expression for singles, says Jennifer De Vivo, a real estate professional in Orlando, Fla.

“It’s a way for singles to express their lifestyles and values,” she says. “They are able to focus on the exact communities, home styles, and features that cater to their individuality with much less compromise.”

One-person households may be drawn to more low-maintenance homes, but for resale reasons, they still place a high value on being in a highly rated school district, agents say.

Being a single buyer can pose challenges, particularly in a post-recession market. Qualifying for a mortgage may be the biggest obstacle for single buyers, since they don’t have the advantages of dual incomes or shared responsibly that a two-person household does.

Source: “Alone, Not Lonely: The Growth of Solo Households,” MSN Real Estate (Aug. 26, 2013) and “Solo Homebuyer? You’re Not Alone,” MSN Real Estate (Aug. 29, 2013)

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