If there were any solid factors today’s women are making inroads in the equality arena, look no further than real estate purchases. While buying a home is primarily the goal of couples looking to nest, in other demographics single women are eclipsing men when it comes to buying homes.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post by columnist Kenneth Harney, single women are buying homes and condos at what may be more than twice the rate of single males, and the trend appears to be accelerating.
According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, single women accounted for 18 percent of all home purchases last year compared with a paltry 7 percent by single men, making single women the second-largest segment in the home-purchase marketplace.
The most recent U.S. Census Current Population Survey weighed in on this using 60,000 households as a sampling factor. In the article, Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for consulting firm Veritas Urbis Economics, was cited as saying the share of home purchases by single women in 2017 — including never-married individuals, widows, and divorcées — hit 22.8 percent, the highest on record. The gap between single women and single men was not as dramatic as in the Realtor study, however.
Home builders are paying attention by designing homes and subdivisions to appeal to women’s preferences, especially singles. One prominent homebuilder, McKee Homes, a builder active in four North Carolina markets, found that in some of their subdivisions a significant percentage of the homes (upward of 50 percent in one case) were purchased by single women in their 30s, 40s and older, making this a multi-generational trend.
So what is fueling this? In a January Washington Post article, Cara Strickland points out how women view a home purchase differently from men — often substituting what was once called their “biological clocks” with another one. Even if they do want kids someday, at one point, women become more interested in decorating their homes and buying furniture than in shopping for clothes. Men? The boys are less willing to buy on their own, saying they prefer to be coupled up first. When one considers how only a generation or so ago women waited (hoped) for marriage to realize any of their own personal dreams, it seems the tables are now turned. Time waits for no woman, including divorcees with kids.
“Single female purchasers tend to be more likely to see buying a home as an investment,” says Jessica Lautz, director of demographic and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors. "Single women pay slightly more on their purchase, on average, than single men — $185,000 compared with $175,000 — and are more likely to have children younger than 18 in their households.”
Another factor are rising rents, which seem to represent a hotter button for single women than for men. According to the article, in a recent tracking study conducted by research and publishing firm Builders Digital Experience, 23 percent of single women cited rising rents as a “trigger” motivation behind a home purchase, well above the 16 percent average for all recent buyers.
Why aren’t single men doing what smart single women are doing? It seems that although less research is being done on the male of the species, it appears evident that there is less concern with root-planting compared with with their female counterparts.Source: Washington Post, NAR, TBWS
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