In 2009, single women made up an impressive 21% of home-buyers. Yet, after the housing crisis, it seemed like single women were forced to take a step back from buying their own homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2015 single women made up 15% of home-buyers. While that may seem low in comparison, the tides are actually changing and that number represents a rise in single women buyers. In fact in the last year or so, more and more single ladies are stepping up to the plate and making the decision to become homeowners with statistics showing that twice as many unmarried women are buying homes than single men. So what exactly is contributing to this growing trend? There is no single one factor that is responsible, but rather a combination of factors.
In the ’80s and early ’90s, it would’ve been a rarity to see a single woman entering the realm of homeownership by herself. Those days, however, are long gone. The difference is that this current generation of women, those born in the early 80’s or later, were born into a time where “Girl Power” wasn’t just a far-fetched idea, but a way of life. We all remember the era of Spice Girls and who can forget Destiny’s Childs call to all the “Independent Women” out there. The influence of the changing social attitudes when it came to women and what they were capable of created a generation of women that didn’t just go to work, but rather started their own companies and created their own empires. Today’s women are more independent and more self-sufficient than the generation that came before them, which has allowed them to carve out the kind of life that includes owning their own home.
To say that women have embraced lifestyle changes would be an understatement. If you would’ve looked at the trends a couple of years back, you would’ve noticed that women tended to wait until they married before buying a home. Nowadays, however, women are dropping the wait and prioritizing their lives and wants differently. More and more women are deciding to put off marriage and having children in favor of pursuing careers and lives that support their independent style of life. This has a lot to do with the generational gap and changing attitudes discussed previously. Women are realizing that they don’t have to follow in their mother or grandmother’s footsteps. They aren’t buying into the fairy tale or their prince Charming to come give them their happily ever after, they are creating it for themselves. Becoming homeowners is up there on the list of things that supports their independence.
Another factor in the steady rise of single women buyers is increased incomes. The “Lady Boss” movement has created a force of women who are taking on better jobs and ensuring financial independence for themselves. Whereas in the past, they found themselves stretching their budgets to make buying a possibility the increase in women’s wages has created a stronger desire to own over renting. Ultimately they’ve come to the realization that yes, they can afford to buy, and that ownership is a better investment than renting. Women want to get out of apartments and put their money towards something instead of throwing it away on rent. With increased financial stability, single women have also started looking at buying homes not just for their own, but as investment properties as well.
There’s also a difference in the attitudes that women themselves hold. In the past, a single woman might have felt the stigma attached to buying a home by herself. What happened if something broke down or needed fixing? Could she really do it herself or find someone who she could trust to not take advantage of her inexperience with such things? This created the idea in the minds of some that it was smarter to have a man in the house. Women, however, soon put those thoughts on the backburner when they started realizing they could check for home-repair work or chores in reputable places like Angie’s List or Craigslist or even through their contacts on Facebook. Or better yet, they can just do it themselves. Can you say independent?