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How and why single female home ownership on the rise

New home builders have taken to the trend, and are marketing their properties to single females in terms of design and staging

Gone are the days when women used to wait to get married to own a home. 

Single female home ownership is on the rise, making them the second largest home buying demographic in Canada, after married couples. 

At the Bradford Board of Trade’s Re-Con event last week, multi-award winning Sales Representative with Re-Max Jaclyn DeMelo spoke to the reasons why females are dominating the real estate market right now, and how they are able do it.

“Fifty years ago, it was hard for a woman to get a mortgage without a male co-signer,” she explained, noting that female home buyers were ‘non existent’ before the fair lending laws came in to play in 1960. 

"But today more than ever women are buying homes on their own, rather than with a partner," she added. 

She noted studies that show single women in both Canada and the U.S. are purchasing homes and condos at more than twice the rate of single men. 

In 2018, 18 per cent of all home buyers were single women, with single men only making up nine per cent of property buyers, she said. Married couples still dominate the market, making up just under 63 per cent of home sales.  

But how are women doing it? And why?

“Despite the persistence of the gender wage gap, women are earning higher salaries than in the past. They are also marrying less and later in life,” explained DeMelo. 

She added that women today are also obtaining higher levels of education than their male counterparts, “leading women to feel more informed and confident to own a home without a partner or family member.” 

Another reason she noted why women are dominating the market is their willingness to purchase more affordable, starter level homes. 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median home price for men in 2018 was $215,000 compared with $198,000 for women. 

Home buying demographics have also changed, in terms of new home builds. New home builders have taken to the trend, and are marketing their properties to single females in terms of design and staging, “presenting it more to the women’s eye.” 

Despite the upswing in female home ownership, there are still many obstacles facing single women in the housing market today. As DeMelo noted,  the average women’s salary is still more than $10,000 less than the average man’s, making it more difficult to save up for a downpayment. 

“Also single women often don’t have the financial resources to compete with bids from dual income households."

DeMelo touched on the issue of home affordability, noting there has been a decline in first time home buyers over the past three years, and is sitting now at a rate of 33 percent of sales in 2018.

But overall, she said that research suggests women are headed in the direction of dominating the real estate market in the coming years.

DeMelo shared the following tips for all potential single home buyers:

  1. Think long-term - there is no guarantee the home you buy will increase in value, however the longer you stay in your home, the more likely you will turn a profit. Think about how you would pay for the home if your life circumstances happen to change, keep your options flexible. 
  2. Build a killer team - Interview at least three realtors before selecting one. Ask for references. You want to be comfortable with the people who are helping you make such an important purchase. 
  3. Beef up your emergency fund - When you’re a single homeowner, you don’t have a partner to rely on so make sure you have a safety net to fall back on
  4. Confidence is key - it is easy to get emotional when buying a home. Do your best to remember that the purchase itself is a business transaction and don’t take the highs and lows of the process individually. 
  5. Meet with a lender - find a mortgage agent who understands your finances and situation willing to work with you to find the most comfortable rates

-with files from Dave Kramer