It is 2016, and sistas really are doin’ it for themselves.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 17% of U.S. homebuyers are single women – making up the second largest homebuyer group. In comparison, single men comprise 7% of today’s homebuyers.
These patterns mirror how young adults are living today. For the first time in modern era, living with parents edges out other living arrangements for adults under 35, per the Pew Research Center. However, young women are significantly more likely to live outside of their parents’ home. Some 29% of adult women under 35 live in a relative’s household, compared with 35% of men the same age.
This tell us that, in general, women are more likely than men to be buying homes, renting or cohabiting with a partner.
Educational attainment might have something to do with it. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2015 that for the first time since it began measuring in 1940, women were more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree. Educational attainment asserts itself in long-term earnings, giving women more opportunity than before to live on their own.
Just 45 years ago, women followed the implicit blueprint that was laid out for them: school > marriage > children. That’s not necessarily the case these days. It’s taking longer for young adults to settle down with life partners. The average age at first marriage for women stands at 27.4 in 2016, up from 25.1 in 2000.
Keep in mind, however, that women have a timeline that dictates when they can have children biologically. So, many who do want children are no longer waiting for the perfect life partner. They’re going at it alone. Some 40.2% of live births in 2014 were to unmarried women, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When it comes to purchasing homes, there’s a good chance that these single women won’t be moving in alone.
If single female homebuyers do have children, school quality is going to be an important consideration for them. It is the most important factor millennials consider when buying a home, and second-most important for homebuyers overall.
They’re willing to make sacrifices, too. A 2016 Bank of America study found that nearly one in four parents consider buying less expensive homes, so they can afford a better education for their children. We would assume this is likelier to be the case among single-parent households.
Jessica Lautz, manager of member and consumer research at the NAR, shared in a Construction Dive article that half of single female buyers are purchasing homes in urban centers, while the other half are buying in small towns.
She also noted that single female buyers typically look for 1,500-square-foot homes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Constructive Dive also spoke with Elizabeth Weintraub, a broker-associate at Lyon Real Estate. She’s finding that single female buyers are commonly requesting properties with driveways and yards. “The group is also showing an increasing interest in condominium complexes that offer landscaping and other maintenance services and feature a community-centric environment.”