The world has changed since Virginia Woolf extolled the need for a woman to have a “room of one’s own”, but the principle remains: True independence comes with obtaining your own four walls. Property and marriage went hand-in-hand in the past, but single women often have the means to take out a mortgage alone nowadays. The impact of this societal change is widespread, and provides us with an opportunity to identify some of the key trends it has sparked.
Since the 1990s, single women have doubled their share of the housing market. Settling into second place behind married couples, the demographic has fallen to its present level of 15% after peaking at 21% in 2009. The current statistic is expected to rise further in 2016, however, with several favourable factors coming into play. Market analysts have noted a spike in the confidence of female purchasers, most of whom no longer rely on a parent or friend for financial support, and who conduct their own transactions. The median age for these women is 50, according to research from the National Association of Realtors. Notably, 72% of women who buy property opt for detached, three-bedroom family homes, while 90% of those will use a real-estate agent or broker to assist with the purchasing process.
An increased income
An upswing in the salaries of single women in the US indicates that more will become homebuyers in 2016. 15.5 million women live alone across the nation compared to 11.8 million men, whether due to divorce, widowhood, or by choice. A significant proportion of these women are single parents. Studies also show that a quarter of unattached women are prepared to spend up to half of their disposable income on housing.
What (single) women want
Women tend to keep certain specifications in mind when house hunting. Finding a thriving community usually dominates the list, closely followed by locating a property near family members. Security, satisfactory local facilities and low maintenance requirements are also held in high regard. Notably, large cities in particular are seeing an increase of single women buying properties.
A new demographic
Traditionally, real-estate house marketing has been aimed at the nuclear family. However, it’s now clear that single women are a rapidly growing target group for the property industry. These individuals have the capacity to qualify for – and repay – housing loans. They also possess a clear perspective of their needs and a strong desire to own their own homes. As investors they’re confident, realistic and well-prepared; in essence, they’re the ideal clients for real-estate agents.
At Engel & Völkers, we’re well placed to cater to the large number of single women seeking professional guidance on entering the housing market. Whatever your individual needs, our agencies in 36 countries can tailor their services to meet expectations. Whether you’re a single woman searching for the perfect property or a couple hoping to buy together, we can ensure your home acquisition process is as smooth as possible.