Could women’s lib be back, if a bit undercover? Studies show that single women are flexing their buying power and purchasing homes while couples are buying in fewer numbers. Unmarried buyers are increasing in numbers while women buyers have been double that of men since the 1990s. Younger women today are making more than their male counterparts in larger cities, but this is not so true for older women. Dynamics have changed for a variety of reasons, such as more females graduating from college and less traditional male occupations (e.g,, construction).
Real estate agents note that female buyers are more organized and budget better than their single male counterparts, although they tend to need more help from their Realtor when negotiating, as opposed to men who tend to need more paperwork aid. Whether trading up or purchasing for the first time, working female homebuyers are a steady and growing force in today’s real estate market.
National Association of Realtors notes that, as of June 2009, 21% of all home purchases were made by solo women, doubling that of single men homebuyers, and the number of solo female buyers keeps growing. This is a big difference. While today’s single women may not be fighting for their right to wear pants or the right to vote or even the right to go without a bra, they are doing what older generations couldn’t do: buying a home, by themselves, as working single women.
It wasn’t that long ago that women in this country were not allowed to own property. Only 30 or more years ago, many lenders refused to talk to single women about home loans, and if they went to the lender with their husband to purchase as a couple, only the male would be addressed, as happened in 1986 to a women I worked with even though she was working and her husband was a graduate student. Now, women have gained confidence and are comfortable to freely purchase a home on their own. This is a big step forward for real estate and an even bigger step forward for women in gaining financial independence.
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