|Women are doing it own their
own. And in larger numbers than ever before.
I'm referring to home buying, of
According to the National Association of Realtors, 22 percent of
home buyers in 2006 were single women. That's up from 14
percent in 1995.
Single men bought
only 9 percent of American homes and condos last year.
While married couples still
make the bulk of home purchases -- some 60 percent last
year -- their market share has dropped from 70 percent 12
A report by Fannie Mae, a
corporation promoting home ownership, says
that 17 million single women now own homes.
It predicts the number will rise to 30 million by 2010.
Why are so many unmarried women buying
Some analysts see a change in
social conditioning. Most women no longer follow the pattern of graduating from high school, getting married,
buying a home, and having children.
Buying a home often comes before
marrying, partly because people are waiting longer
to marry than ever before. The median age of first
marriage is now 25 for women and 27 for men.
Also, women are earning more than
before, partly because so many are choosing college and careers
as a priority in their twenties, putting marriage and children
on the back burner until they are more financially stable.
expert Peter Francese says that women are 58 percent of U.S.
college students and slightly more than half of managerial and
A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard
University explains that single women prefer homes in the city
to those in the suburbs and that most women are not fond of new
construction. Most want smaller homes or more affordable condos
-- residences which require less maintenance and give a feeling of greater
Single women place safety high
on their list of priorities when it comes to buying a home or
condo. Other items on the list include privacy without
isolation, energy efficiency, and aesthetically pleasing
why are single women outpacing single men as home buyers by a
ratio of more than 2 to 1?
Francese thinks that men and
women generally have different priorities, whether its because
of biology or social conditioning.
"One does not need a Ph.D. in demography to know that women are
far more interested in a home, in a nest, than men are," he
says. Most single guys just want a place to live while
women see homeownership as a desirable step on the path to
and mortgage lenders should not ignore single men as potential
750,000 single men bought homes in 2005. That's up 72 percent
from a decade earlier.
Although single women dominate
the numbers, a few home
builders have made a strategic decision to target the single male market.
With the sales of new homes slowing down, they are considering
specialty markets previously overlooked.
which operates in North Carolina, is one of them.
At one of its new subdivisions,
KB Home is marketing some town homes to men.
The builder has specifically created a "manly" look to attract single
Buyers won't find mauve walls or
white carpet in these units. Instead, they see stone
flooring and stainless steel appliances, as well as glass walled
showers rather than bathtubs in the master bedrooms.
KB's marketing approach is
working. Single men bought half of the town homes sold in
the first phase.
But some single men don't care
about masculine decor. They buy homes for economic reasons.
Jeremy Cohen, 25, told the Contra Costra
Times that his motivation for buying a home in San Leandro,
California, was to save on taxes
and build some financial equity.
With all the media attention
given recently to the rise in home buying by singles, it
shouldn't be long until sales people recognize them as a prime
Single homeowners -- get ready
for the parade of interior decorators, home security companies,
and hardware suppliers. You're going to be receiving a lot
of marketing attention.
Perhaps the first piece of
hardware you might want to buy is a "no solicitors" sign for your
front door. Or a recycling bin for junk mail.
Unmarried America 2007
Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an
attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family
diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.
Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried
firstname.lastname@example.org. Unmarried America is a nonprofit
information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and