CBRE RESEARCH BRIEF Age At First Marriage 06.06.17 .pdf
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Author: McShan, Meghan @ Americas Research
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Delayed Marriage - A Societal
Contribution to Multifamily Demand
The age of first marriage has risen to historical highs. In the
U.S., from 1960 to 2016, the average age at first marriage
rose seven years for both men and women, and in 2016
stood at 29.5 years for men and 27.4 for women. These
averages also reflect a two-year rise just in the past 10 years.
Marriage is closely associated with homebuying, and delays
in the former are contributing to delays in the latter.
Conversely, later marriages are keeping young adults in
rental housing longer and has contributed to high
multifamily demand in recent years.
Married couples are far more likely to purchase a home than
any other household type, making up 66% of homebuyers
across all age categories, according to the 2017 Home Buyers
and Sellers Generational Trends Report published by the
National Association of Realtors (NAR).
A corollary to delayed marriages is deferred start to having
children. For the first time in history the birthrate for
women ages 30 to 34 was higher than the rate for women
ages 25 to 29. Delays in starting families has contributed
positively to rental demand, a topic to be explored more
fully another day.
MARRIAGE STORY MORE COMPLICATED
Given other societal changes, however, age of first marriage
and marriage rates are becoming less important factors for
rental/homeownership patterns than in the past.
One reason is that more singles and non-married couples
are buying homes than in previous generations. For
example, NAR reports that single women now account for
13% of homebuyers aged 36 and less (millennials).
Another factor is that marriage rates, in general, are
declining. Fifty years ago, 72% of all adults 18 and over were
married compared to 50% today. Cohabitation, singleperson households and single parenthood have grown more
prevalent in recent decades. Additionally, the share of adults
that have been married at least once (but may currently be
unmarried due to divorce or widowhood) has declined from
85% in 1960 to 67% today.
Report authors: Meghan McShan, Senior Research
Analyst, and Jeanette I. Rice, Americas Head of
June 6, 2017 CBRE Research
Figure 1: Average Age at First Marriage: 1890-2016
AGE OF FIRST MARRIAGE AT HISTORICAL HIGHS
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (Current Population Survey), Q2 2017.
Figure 2: Average Age at First Marriage: 1996-2016
1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (Current Population Survey), Q2 2017. In 2014,
there was a change in the survey impacting the statistics.
Figure 3: Homeownership Rates for Adults Under 35
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (Housing Vacancy Survey), Q1 2017.
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