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20% of homebuyers are single women

Since the 1990s, single women have purchased homes at about double the rate of single men.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 25, 2011 2:46PM

This post comes from Steve Bergsman at partner site on MSN MoneyOn a recent sale, Hartford, Conn.-area real estate agent Maria Hagan of Prudential Connecticut Realty was dealing with a single-female client who had just sold her condominium and was looking to buy another. The client had a hard time finding anything she liked, until one day she drove past a single-family home on the way to visit her brother.


The property was a two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot ranch. On her first visit to the home, Hagan's client decided to buy it. "The client looked back on why she sold her condo," Hagan explains, "and one of the reasons was lack of privacy." The single-family home afforded the client that sense of non-intrusion she was seeking. Post continues after video.

Besides increased privacy, there were other reasons the home appealed to Hagan's client. First, it was closer to her brother's home, and the home had a basement where her niece and nephew could play when they came to be baby-sat. Also, the home's second bedroom could be used as an office. Without plans to start a family of her own anytime soon, the client felt the home would serve her well for a long time.

Since the 1990s, single women have purchased homes at about double the rate of single men, reports Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. According to the NAR's 2010 data, about 20% of homebuyers were single women compared with just 12% single men.


Women have caught up

Until the early 1980s, single women were at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace due to lack of credit, Molony notes. "But once that improved, you saw single women get up to their natural marketplace share, which is roughly one out of five buyers."


Asked why more single women buy homes than single men, Molony guesses two, noneconomic reasons: Women like to "nest," or create their own living space, while men often don't get serious about real estate "until they meet the right woman."


To that point, several male first-time homebuyers we spoke with explained that their homebuying decisions weren't made in earnest until they were either married or engaged.


According to a 2006 study by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, though married couples accounted for the majority of homebuyers, their share in the marketplace had been shrinking for the past 50 years. The Harvard study cited numerous reasons for this diminishing trend, including:

  • More unmarried women in the population than in the past.
  • The average age when a woman first marries increased as more women sought education and career before committing to a relationship.
  • Fewer young-adult women chose to live with parents and instead moved out on their own.

Who are they and what are they buying?

The median age and household income of the single-woman homebuyer, according to the NAR, was 41 and $50,600, respectively, last year. The NAR's data show that 62% of single women bought single-family residences, compared with 15% for townhomes and 15% for condominiums. The homes purchased were about 1,450 square feet on average.


According to the NAR, the most stated reason a single woman buys a home is simply a "desire to own." As was the case with Hagan's client, living closer to friends and family was another reason. Yet equally important to a single, female homebuyer's decision was the home's affordability, a recent change in family life, and homebuying incentives like the homebuyer tax credit.

Those homebuyers who do go the condominium route have their own important reasons. Samantha Thomas (whose name has been changed for this article), a 29-year-old hair stylist, recently bought a condominium in a Newport Beach, Calif., mid-rise. "I chose the condominium because I am busy and there are people here who do the upkeep, landscaping, pool, etc., and since I don't have children this was simpler," she explains.


The location and security were also important issues. "I'm five miles from work, five miles from the beach and my family is close by," she adds. The condominium has a front-desk person 24/7, all packages are left at the front desk, and the parking garage is secure as well, Thomas says.


Hagan's single-women clients tend to be young and generally opt for a community property, townhome or condominium. But she also gets a fair number of older, single-women clients, who tend to buy into communities where the exterior work is taken care of by an association and the homes aren't attached.


Many of these women are divorcees or widows and have come from single-family homes. Says Hagan, "They like their privacy and they often have the companionship of an animal, which is a problem at some condominiums."


More from and MSN Money:

Mar 25, 2011 8:14PM
Im a divorcing 43 year old and I am neither asking for half of my ex's money or child support. I am renting a home that I will probably buy. The reason I am planning on buying a home is that I can own cheaper than rent.
Mar 25, 2011 8:29PM
Single, never married, bought my home with money I earned.
Mar 25, 2011 9:55PM
Bitter much,  thomcat?

I'm a single woman in my 30s and I've owned my own home for more than 10 years.  No man's money helped me buy it and I didn't get help from my parents.  My parents make less than I do and I do my best to help them every month.  I live far below my means and in this economy I would be able to live like a queen on minimum wage if my life ever came to that.

Mar 25, 2011 11:33PM
one more thing ttomkatt if men dont want to pay child support, dont have children. problem solved.
Mar 26, 2011 5:59AM
tthomkatt, did anyone put a gun into our head to make you marry your ex?  My guess is no and that you picked her.  Your current situation is the consequence of your poor choice. If you married someone of your equal and with self respect (assuming you didn't treat her badly or cheat), you wouldn't be in your current situation.  YOU are the one putting yourself in your current situation, blame no one but yourself.  So be a man and accept the responsibility and consequences of your poor decisions.
Mar 26, 2011 10:40AM
The whole point of the article was: 
"Since the 1990s, single women have purchased homes at about double the rate of single men."

That's it.  Save your anger for your therapist. 

Mar 26, 2011 1:10AM
why all the thumbs down, are they from guys who think its ok to steal from a womans bank account to keep whores, otherwise its from the whores who think its ok for children to do without so that they can be kept in shoes, HOlidays and birthday presents from money that doesnt belong to them?
Mar 25, 2011 9:51PM
In 1977, as a single teacher (age 27) I had to shop 7 banks before the 8th one, a savings and loan, would give me a mortgage.  New, but solid credit, contractual job....any guy at the time wouldn't have had to go to all those banks.  The first one would have approved him.  As it was, I had to have my dad co-sign, even though I'd been living on my own, self-supporting, for 6 years.  I am living in my second home purchased as a single woman (at 38), which now houses my husband and ended up being my 22 year old son's lifetime home. So glad things have changed.  And, I was single from 18-38 (two long relationships) and never had any alimony or any family money to help me.  I like this news....women can have what men have been privileged to have for years - at last.
Mar 26, 2011 7:45AM
moreintellectthanu pity your nick doesnt match what you try and portray. I am not a lesbian, nor do i hate men. the man in question wasnt married to me.  so before you make any assumptions stop and use the intellect you purport to have. So according to your logic Eurotrash are good because they dont steal from bank accounts and what makes an american superior is because they are thieves. I guess then its ok for your accounts to be stolen from?
My indepence etc have nothing to do with you, nor anyone else. Its between my ex and myself. Not some whore loving bastard who has never been responsible for anything, well neither has his whores so they wouldnt know what responsibility is. They wouldnt know what it is to get up at night when your feeling so sick that you dont want to move because a child needs something. So how dare you? So rather than get a nick that doesnt suit you at all, use one that says, i am pretending to be smart but have no idea.
Apr 14, 2013 11:33AM
It's a great product for a senior that can't make ends meet or wants to live a better life. You get a chunk of cash and have to make no payments.I put some url from where i have become to know a lot of about reverse mortgage.
Mar 26, 2011 8:00AM
oh and he says he loves independent women as well, just as long as they behave themselves,are willing to share him with other independent women and i guess moreintellectthanu these women are seriously smart that they do share him, it must be his wit

 they are independent women OF COURSE, but then the money he has stolen hasnt gone astray as well, must be that independent women like to be paid for with ill gotten gains
all this has shown me what calibre of man i guess AMERICAN MEN are, after all dont we judge every nationality by the people from that country that we come in contact with?
Mar 26, 2011 5:23AM

Noerrors you sound like a man hating lesbian, Equality mean men get to raid the women's bank accounts now. An American was over your head anyway so go back to the feminine Eurotrash, sound like the man made the right move. Women have been stealing from men's accounts for generations.

  Personally I like women being independent. You get a man you want rather than need but if you go for superficial qualities or the guy is out of your league then ask why.

Tom just get joint custody and the child support disappears. Get full custody and have her pay you. If it is the freedom you want than pay for it.

 Next time I will bring you all cheese to go with the whine

Mar 26, 2011 8:37AM
Single men buy homes too....and the news worthy story is????
Mar 26, 2011 7:57AM
moreintellectthanu which you dont have, so American men say they love you while taking out whores and doing other reprehensible thing and emptying out your accounts.

 I guess thats what makes them deep? makes sense....
Mar 25, 2011 11:14PM
tthomkatt, I owned my own home before my now ex and I met. I was on a better wage then he was. And I used my money when we brought our current home.
Until an American bastard thought it was ok for him to steal money from my accounts because he wanted to keep his "mistresses"  without paying for it himself my finances were in a good situation. So dont talk about the character of women when men who are SUPPOSEDLY decent do such dispecable things as steal from the account of a woman who is trying to look after 3 children on her own.

Mar 25, 2011 8:37PM
How is this news?  So ok...  20% are single women....  Is it "news worthy" if 20% are single guys, and 60% are married couples?

1% of home buyers are dogs woulda made a better headline.
Mar 25, 2011 11:16PM
oh by the way HOW MUCH HAS THIS DiSPICABLE  man stolen from my accounts over the years. 10 of thousands of dollars. While he and his whores have visited nice place and I have tried to keep a roof over my childrens and my head.
But dont worry, soon enough he and his whores will be in jail
Mar 25, 2011 7:59PM

The woman have all of their money, and half of their exes money.  Men with child support payments can't even afford to buy a good pair of shoes.  Figure it out. 


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