The Female Force

I Am Woman!

Today nobody would deny the power women have in society. Just over 100 years ago women were locked up for smoking and the Suffragettes were building their platform for equality. As an old cigarette ad used to claim, "You've come a long way, Baby, to get where you've gotten to today." Isn't that the truth!

A further statement to the impact of women on the world appears in the fact that record numbers of single women are buying homes - and the real estate market is wide open for them. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than one in five home buyers is a single woman; unmarried women buy twice as many homes as single men; and since 1994, single women comprise more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership.

When it comes to the reasons why single women want to buy homes, there are three that top the list. First is the strong desire for a woman to own her own home. The need for more space or the desire for less space prompts real estate action and women get into the real estate market because they want to relocate - either for work, school or family reasons.

Who Is That Woman?

So, what does this woman home buyer look like? Women home buyers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and ages. They may be divorced, never married, widowed or separated. They may have children or they may be childless. Others live with friends or partners and many live alone. This group of women home buyers is a cross-section of society and ethnic cultures. There's no way to create a single image outside of that which makes them "woman". No longer are women holding out for marriage before they buy their first home and they buy for the same reasons anybody else buys.

Even Though She Makes Less Money...

What does differentiate women home buyers from men is the fact that sadly, women still earn considerably less than men and consequently on average they tend to purchase lower-priced homes. However, having said that, some of the buying trends among single women are quite astonishing. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies:

"The findings are striking: Not only are unmarried women a large segment of the home buying population, but they are fast-growing, too, increasing their share of home buyers by 50 percent in eight years. The value of their home purchases over a 3-plus year period totaled more than $550 billion, though they were less likely to buy a newly built or a high priced home than married couples. The characteristics of these buyers are also noteworthy, with a larger share of minorities especially among younger buyers. Two out of three female buyers were previously married, though that share drops significantly for younger buyers. They also have lower incomes than unmarried men and married home buyers, but are less apt to finance their home purchase.

"These traits generalize the make-up of unmarried female buyers; in reality they are a diverse and highly segmented group comprised of single mothers, young singles, middle-aged divorcees and seniors. Single mothers, for example, have the highest share of minorities while young singles are the least likely to be previously married. Middle aged women and seniors are more likely to have purchased a home in the past, which offsets their generally lower incomes relative to other female buyers by providing equity with which to finance their new home."

The Buying Trends of Single Women

Single women home buyers have a certain set of trends that have become associated with their particular market niche. Three out of four women spend less than $200,000 and prefer to have two or more bedrooms in the house. They are less inclined to buy a new home and prefer city life to the suburbs. In order to have great amenities, they will compromise on the size of their home but won't budge on neighborhood and location. They enjoy the social interaction with neighbors and like to be close to stores, shopping and fitness centers. Single women tend to prefer a condominium with a well run homeowner association over a single family home. Security is important so gated access is a big plus.