|Single women have come a long way
in real estate
But it's not just younger women who are doing the
buying -- women of all ages are taking the homeownership plunge
"It used to be younger professional women doing
the buying," says Phipps, who says he's now seeing more middle-aged
women and seniors buying homes on their own. "We're kind of
seeing that become more common."
But, often they are not looking at the same homes,
says Drew. Older women are likely to buy homes that are newer and
more expensive. "They are more likely to have reserves from
wealth accumulation," she says.
And that shows up in how they pay for the home, says
Drew. Twenty-eight percent of women are able to buy a home without
a mortgage, she says. (For single men the figure is 27 percent and
for couples, 20 percent.)
But for most women, mortgages are a must. And 40 percent put down
less than 5 percent for a down payment.
What do women want?
While it's hard to generalize, real estate professionals have noticed
that women, on the whole, seem to be looking for a home that is
secure and free of maintenance worries.
Condos and town houses, in particular, seem to be a very popular
solution. For solo female buyers, "condos and townhomes are
definitely more popular," Stevens says.
Looking at buying habits from 2000 to 2003, Drew found
that condos made up 15 percent of the home purchases for single
females, as opposed to 12 percent for single men and just 5 percent
Single women also are looking for
smaller homes than their married counterparts, she says. One-third
of single women purchased two-bedroom homes. By contrast, 84 percent
of married couples purchase homes with three or more bedrooms.
"They are also more likely to own older homes,"
Drew says. "Part of it is price; part of it is location."
Single women are more likely to buy near a city center where housing
stock tends to be older.