More Americans are choosing to postpone marriage and families, and that’s one of the main culprits behind the falling home ownership rate, suggests Sam Zell, chairman of landlord Equity Residential, the largest U.S. apartment landlord.

“The deferral of marriage has such a staggering impact on real estate, and I just don’t think people focus on it,” says Zell. “I don’t think the multifamily market has ever had a better set of future demographics.”

In 2010, about 54 percent of adults were married, a drop from 57 percent a decade earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The median age of marriage has risen to 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women, according to the 2010 data.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that the home ownership rate dropped to the lowest level in nearly 19 years, falling to 64.8 percent in the first quarter. The previous three months the home ownership rate had stood at 65.2 percent.

The home ownership rate peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004.

Source: “Zell Says Home Ownership Rate to Fall as Marriages Delayed,” Bloomberg (April 29, 2014)