Single Women Hungry for Homeownership: ‘Saving More Diligently Than Single Men’ Expert Says

A real estate agent standing in front of a house with a FOR SALE sign in the yard, talking with an African American woman who could be the homeower, or a potential buyer.
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More than two-thirds of single women polled in the Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report are deciding to “skip the spouse and buy a house,” the data revealed.

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That is to say, 65% of single women said they’d rather not wait for marriage to buy a home. Meanwhile, 30% of today’s female homeowners bought a home while they were single. Even those who aren’t planning to buy soon agree with the concept; 87% of single women said it’s an outdated idea that someone must be married to buy a home.

Nonetheless, single women still face some hurdles when it comes to homeownership. Seventy-four percent said they have not purchased yet because they want to feel financially stable before making that jump. Meanwhile, 64% of men voiced similar reasons for delaying home ownership. Sixty-one percent of women are aiming to save more for a down payment before buying a house, while 54% want to improve their credit score and 41% want to “figure out their long-term plans,” the survey said.

The results of the survey did not surprise the experts, since single women have made up the second-largest demographic of homebuyers — after married couples — since 1981, based on research from the National Association of Realtors. But it did spotlight some of the financial challenges facing women today.

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“It’s notable that nearly three-quarters of single women (74%) have not purchased yet because they want to first feel financially stable, but there are resources to help sole person households achieve homeownership,” Kathy Cummings, SVP of homeownership solutions and strategic relationships at Bank of America, told GOBankingRates.

She added, “It’s clear this demographic is fiscally educated and want to control their expenses. Single women are saving more diligently than single men, with 70% saying they save money first, then spend what’s left after covering the basics.” Only 63% of men surveyed said they do the same.

Women also place greater value and prestige on homeownership than most men do, according to the survey results. Eighty percent of single female prospective homebuyers revealed that they were “excited” by the idea of buying a home by themselves. Sixty percent view it as a major milestone, saying they think they’ll feel like they “made it” when they become a homeowner. Only 52% of men polled held the same sentiments.

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Given how important homeownership is to many single women, now could be the best time to take action, Cummings suggested. “Purchasing a home can send a wave of anxiety through even seasoned homebuyers, but don’t let this anxiety get in the way of the dream of home,” Cummings said. She advised women to consult with a lending specialist, first, to assess what they’ll need to start the process and to help get their finances in order.

She asserted that there is no “right time” to buy a home, because it’s a personal decision based on a person’s life circumstances and financial readiness. However, with the U.S. Federal Reserve set to hike interest rates following the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting — if not sooner — if you’ve been on the fence about buying, it might not make sense to wait much longer.

“If you’ve been thinking about buying a house and have determined how homeownership fits into your finances, now could be the time to take advantage of lower interest rates,” Cummings said. “Also, it’s important to understand the cost to buy a home compared to renting in your community. You may find out it will be advantageous to go ahead and prioritize homeownership and lock into a fixed interest rate to stave off increasing rent hikes.”

Tips for House Hunters

For women who are preparing to start house-hunting, Cummings offered the following tips:

  • Prioritize paying down debt to lower your debt-to-income ratio and potentially qualify for lower interest rates.
  • Look into loan options and grant programs if you can afford the monthly mortgage payments but may need help with your down payment.
  • Seek out preapproval to compete with other buyers in a fast-moving housing market.

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In any economic environment, homeownership can represent another step toward financial stability and security. “In my experience working with this demographic, single women often tell me they want to invest in themselves and in their futures, whether solo or for their children,” Cummings said. “Homeownership has traditionally been an important way to build long-term wealth.”

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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