A common conception involving home purchases is that women focus on creative matters as they flock to open houses and develop design ideas, while men handle the finances from securing a mortgage to signing on the dotted line.
But at least in the case of single men and women, there's been a swing toward the multitasking gender who "can take out the bacon, fry it up in a pan" and then squeeze in a full-day's work. A window company in a recent online promotion notes that unattached women acquire twice as many homes as their male counterparts, citing the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Bachelor-ettes, divorcees and widows are credited with 18 percent of all home purchases, compared with 9 percent by single men.
Married couples are the top buying group at 63 percent.
"The report shows this is the second year in a row that single women are holding strong as home buyers," says Roger Murphy, president of Hy-Lite, a U.S. Block Windows company. In 1981, the NAR counted just 11 percent of home buyers as single women. "Look how these numbers are growing," he says.
"Women's pay may still lag behind that of their male counterparts on average, but single women are taking the lead when it comes to purchasing real estate," Emmie Martin, personal finance director for CNBC, wrote last year. According to Martin, older women account for the bulk of real estate investing by singles. The largest share is in the 72 and older age group, she says, referring to Realtors association figures.
Among the reasons that single females are buying real estate involves marital changes: they may have lost a spouse or parted ways with one, Martin says.
"They're either divorced or their husbands have died, and they have the money and they're buying," Jane Fairweather, a real estate agent in Bethesda, Maryland, told CNBC Real Estate reporter Diana Olick. "They want stability. They want to have control over their monthly expenses. They're going to be where their children or friends are."
Also, rising rental prices are nudging younger women toward home ownership, Martin wrote. Research firm Builders Digital Experience, as cited by The Washington Post, discovered that 23 percent of single women considered higher rents as a practical reason to buy a home instead of lease an apartment.
Women face a pay gap but their salaries are shooting higher, she says. The midpoint annual wage for women was $30,675 in 1980; it was about 30 percent more at $40,742 three years ago, Department of Labor figures note.
Murphy, of Pensacola, Florida-based Hy-Lite (www.hy-lite.com), believes that bachelorettes, divorcees and widows buy homes for many of the same reasons as bachelors, and husbands and wives, do. "Like most married couples, single women are looking for their perfect space to put down roots near family and friends," he says. "However, with single women we also believe that the feelings of safety comes into play in a strong way. Everything from security systems to privacy windows in a home strengthen the likelihood that a single woman will gravitate to a particular property," he says.
The company president foresees added business for the decorative window trade from unattached women. “The single female home buyer is a category that we believe will continue to rise in the future," Murphy says. "Smart builders will consider accommodating their needs for privacy by including privacy windows in multiple areas of the home."