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Single Women: The Fastest Growing Segment Of The Mortgage Market
Single women are the fastest-growing segment of the housing market. Since 2010, the share of single women homebuyers has increased 30%. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), last year single women buyers represented 17% of total home purchases, second only to married couples. Freddie Mac highlighted that the borrowing profiles for many women are considered incredibly favorable among lenders. Many women are credit-worthy buyers with higher credit scores and lower serious delinquency (SDQ) rates compared to single men, reports Freddie Mac. Understanding the perceptions and needs of women will help mortgage marketers engage this growing segment of the home buying population.
Which Age Groups Of Single Women Are Buying Houses?
The NAR 2019 Home Buyers And Sellers Generational Report on real estate sales shows that single women across all age groups were buying homes at almost twice the rate of single men. The highest percentages of single female buyers were found in the 54 to 63 years and 73 and older age groups. For this oldest age group in 2019, 25% of home purchases were transactions made by single women. Younger women are buying as well. 15% of homebuyers under the age of 28 were single women, 11% in ages 29 to 38 and 17% in ages 39 to 53.
Why Are Single Women Buying Houses?
House Beautiful and Marie Claire surveyed single women homeowners on the reasons why they purchased their homes, and money is a significant factor. 31% of survey respondents listed their reason for buying as “I’m making enough to afford a mortgage on my own.”
Additional reasons include:
- The market is favorable (29%)
- Real estate is always a good investment (26%)
- Post-breakup/divorce purchases (15%)
Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for NAR, identified caregiving as an additional significant factor for single women buying homes. According to the Pew Research Center, 21% of children live with single mothers. The Home Buyers And Sellers Generational Report also shows that residences purchased by single women for multi-generational households are on the rise as these women take on the care of aging parents or adult children return to the nest.
What Has Challenged The Acceleration Of Homeownership Among Single Women Buyers?
According to the latest job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women outnumber men in the workforce, holding 50.04% of jobs as of December 2019. Women are earning more than ever before, but the gender wage gap is still a reality. The 2018 American Community Survey states that women in the U.S. workforce are making roughly $0.80 for every dollar earned by their male colleagues.
Although more single women own homes than single men, a recent study from Yale shows that women pay more for their homes and sell for less. The study cited location, timing, choice of initial listing price and negotiating skills all played a role in this disparity. Some women may prioritize non-economic factors when buying or selling, like the architectural style or number of bedrooms. Women also often consider the crime rate and overall neighborhood safety and proximity to good schools over investment value.
Single women are prioritizing home ownership. A 2018 report by Bank of America found that 73% of women value home ownership above getting married and having children. This report also shows that more women than men are prioritizing saving for downpayments and improving their credit scores to achieve their goals, and when women purchase houses, they experience feelings of empowerment, independence and success.
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