Single women are changing the face of homeownership in America, according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which reported that single women now account for 18% of homebuyers – representing the second largest home buying group, after married couples. While in general, millennials have been holding back from buying homes, single females have doubled their representation in the homebuyer market compared to single men. Surprised? Well, this trend is nothing new.
Unmarried females’ presence in real estate has been steadily increasing to account for more than one-third of the growth in homeownership since 1994. Despite the fact that, on average, women still make 20% less than men, they are surging ahead in real estate investments. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Buyers and Sellers Report revealed the average age of single female first-time homebuyers is 32 years old, with a median annual income of $49,000.
Why All the Single Ladies?
Stability, investment opportunity and life changes are some of the many reasons single women are looking to own instead of rent. When asked why she was in the market for a home in Houston, JaMés Phillips, a single woman, replied, “I want to give myself the stability, the investment, and the legacy. I am pursuing purchase now because the rental market is worse than ownership, in terms of expense, without the write-off and sense of pride or personal rule-making.”
In response to why they made the leap alone to own their first home, many single women list the high cost of renting as their biggest motivation. “While I was a bit nervous to have that much responsibility on my own,” shared Gilbert, Ariz., homeowner Wendy Hafen, “I knew I was tired of throwing money away at rent every month.”
Homeowner Christina Oswald feels similarly. “I was sick of renting,” Oswald explained. “I viewed it as paying into someone else’s equity. I bought [a home] in an area with high rental traffic so if I do get transferred I will easily be able to rent the house.”
Andrea Clement of Georgia is the proud single homeowner of a 1920s Craftsman bungalow in a historic neighborhood just outside of Atlanta. She purchased the home because she wanted greater control over her housing situation. “My rent went up several times during the three years I was renting, to the point where owning a home would allow me to have a lower monthly payment,” shared Clement. “I worried that if I continued to rent, the rent would increase to a level that would eventually be out of my financial comfort zone, forcing a move. As a renter, I was always at the mercy of my landlord – if my landlord decided to sell, it could also force me to move. I wanted to have more control over my own destiny and my life.”
Homes First, Spouses Later
The desire of women to own homes could be related to the median age at which many people marry, which has increased in the last few decades. The Census Bureau now reports that women tend to marry in their late 20s. Many single women are now hunting for homes first and marrying later.
“To be honest, I never really considered buying a home on my own,” confessed Kateri Wozny. “I always saw myself getting one with a future partner and building a home together. Since it hasn’t been happening for me that way, that’s [one] reason why I wanted to purchase a home.” Wozny is a 36-year-old in the process of purchasing her first home in the Los Angeles area.
Investing in the Future
Kylie Patterson bought her home in Valencia, Calif., as a single woman over three years ago. Why did she decide to put down roots? “It’s a sound financial investment. You don’t need to be in a relationship to make plans for your future,” she said. “My home has increased in value – I wouldn’t have been able to say that about an apartment I was renting.”
Wozny also took investment potential into consideration when deciding to enter the housing market. “It’s a good investment with an awesome tax write-off. I also wanted more space to put my belongings, host more parties at my future place and have a larger area for a dog to run around on.” Purchasing your own home is a great way to build equity and round out your investment portfolio.
Buying on Your Own
As any seasoned homeowner can tell you, owning your own house involves a host of new responsibilities, and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, especially if you’re making the decision alone. “The hardest part about being a single homeowner is getting stuff fixed. And the time and money it takes away from other things to learn how to DIY,” said personal finance writer and homeowner Christine Renee from Tucson, Ariz.
Like any major change, becoming a homeowner is a great learning opportunity. “I purchased my first home when I was 25, and I learned a lot of lessons from owning this home. Lessons like managing a budget, how to take care of my home, and how my personal style was going to be reflected in the home,” said Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada. “Buying a home and knowing that I was able to do this on my own helps me understand that anything is possible, and that I can truly take care of myself no matter what situation may arise,” said Dodson. Single women across the nation are finding greater confidence in the investment of independently purchasing their own home.
Whether you’re a single parent or looking to escape your roommates, entering the housing market as a first-time buyer can be a daunting step for any single. So we asked real estate agents for their top tips for first-time homebuyers to improve your home-buying experience.
Put a Mortgage on It
Are you a single woman and still bucking the home buying trend? Perhaps you should consider investing in your own home. “I bought my first home when I was 25,” shared Vernetta Freeney, a homeowner and blogger for the Houston African American Bloggers Association. “I was a teacher at the time, and I spent two years attending financial classes to make sure I was in the best financial position possible. I think anyone who is determined and motivated can purchase their home as long as they learn about finances.” Become more financially literate and get your questions answered by a Home Loan Expert today!
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