Women are, once again, changing the face of the housing market, and they’re not waiting for spouses, partners, or anyone else to do so. The buying force represented by single women in real estate is rising and, over the past three decades, the number of “single-female” transactions has risen from one in 10 to more than one in five at some points in recent history.
The peak of participation in the housing sector occurred in 2006, which led some analysts to predict that women on their own would decline as a buying force when lending standards became tougher and less “creative.” Today’s market, however, proves that prediction wrong.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today single women are responsible for right around one out of every six home purchases. Thanks to the rising number of women earning their degrees (that population has surpassed its male counterpart) and an expectation that women will account for more than half of the nation’s labor-force growth in the coming years, it seems likely that the demographic will continue to gain buying power in the housing market. As more women also opt to raise children on their own rather than with a partner who lives with them (there were 8.6 million single-mother households in 2011, according to Pew Research Center data released in 2013), more single women are likely to seek the stability represented by homeownership when raising their children.
At present, the solo female homebuyer looks unique in the marketplace, but her ideal property purchase is growing in popularity among the general population. With a median age of 50, she is a bit older than other buying demographics. Single male buyers have a median age of 47, and married-couple buyers have a median age of 44. Interestingly, the median age for unmarried-couple buyers is 33. According to a Construction Dive survey, single female buyers tend to be looking for three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes of around 1,500 square feet in “community-centric” developments. Built-in options for landscaping and maintenance services add to the attractiveness of a property.
While at this point in time most developers say that they are not particularly focused on the desires of the single-female buyer, the growing prevalence of diverse construction, mixed-use development, walkability and green space in neighborhoods is likely to appeal to this demographic, particularly if the median age of the buyer trends downward as it seems likely to do in the coming decade.
You can read more of Carole VanSickle Ellis’ coverage of this topic and others on selfdirectedinvestorsociety.org, or listen to SDI Radio online at www.sdiradio.com.
About the Author
Carole VanSickle Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a daily nine-minute investing podcast, and the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.investing.bryanellis.com.