More Single Female Buyers on the Hunt

April 7, 2016

Single women will soon make up a bigger portion of your home buyer pool in the future. They may be delaying marriage, but they’re not delaying home ownership.

“Women today don’t sit around and wait for Prince Charming,” says Wendy Flynn, a real estate professional in College Station, Texas. “The time frame for meeting your dream man, getting married, and having kids—well, that’s a pretty long timeline.” So they’re charging ahead in buying a home. If they do meet “The One” — even a day after closing on a home —Flynn says “you could sell your home in a few years and still make a profit—or at the worst, probably break even.”

Women still earn 21 percent less than men, but they're choosing to invest in a home of their own at a much higher rate than single men. Also, Census Bureau stats show that more young people are delaying marriage. Men and women used to get married in their early 20s, on average; now the median age for a first-time marriage is in the late 20s — that is, if they opt to marry at all.

Single females comprised 15 percent of the home purchase market in 2015, compared to just 11 percent in 1981, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. Single men home buyers, on the other hand, have decreased in that time: from 10 percent in 1981 to 9 percent today.

“We have consistently seen that women place a high value on home ownership regardless of relationship status,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s manager of Member & Consumer Survey Research. “The data suggests that women desire a place to call their own and are willing, even if they are at lower incomes, to make financial sacrifices to get there.”

Single women do meet plenty of challenges in buying solo, however. They have to save for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage on one income. Some single females say they’ve also faced bias in their house hunt.

For example, Jennifer O’Byrne in St. Paul, Minn., says a co-op board asked her whether she intended to get married or have children when she set out to buy a studio in 2006 at the age of 35.

“It was a small studio, and they didn’t want anyone else moving in,” O’Byrne says.

Source: “More Single Women Hunt for Homes, Not Husbands,”® (April 5, 2016)