How Delayed Marriage Rates Could Benefit Housing

September 12, 2018

Younger Americans are waiting longer to get married, and the industry has been concerned that the tendency will lead to a delay in homeownership too. But Toll Brothers CEO Douglas C. Yearley says the delay in getting hitched could actually be good for housing. In an interview with CNBC, Yearley predicts more millennials will be able to afford high-end homes, a segment of the market that Toll Brothers is focused on.

Ceiling beams of new-home construction project

“We know they’re marrying later, so they’re buying homes later, but that also means they’re wealthier when they buy,” Yearley told CNBC.

The average age for a woman to get married is 27.4; for a man, it’s 29.5. That's the oldest in history, according to Census data. In 1950, the average age for getting married was 20, and in 1980 it had only budged up to 22. At the same time, more buyers are entering the market unmarried; CNBC reports that 57 percent of first-time home buyers are married, compared to 75 percent in 1985.

Rising home prices and mortgage rates have prompted a slowdown in the overall housing market, including luxury real estate sales. But Yearley says the luxury market is strong. “There [are] more and more households that make $100,000 or more, which is our business," Yearley says. "More and more people want new than ever before and we’re really benefiting from that.”

Toll Brothers grabbed headlines in August when it beat back industry estimates of a slowdown in the luxury sector. The company reported record sales in the third quarter, a 30 percent increase in its quarterly profit, and an 18 percent increase in home deliveries. The company expects to deliver between 8,100 to 8,400 homes this year, at an average price of between $835,000 to $860,000.