Single Women Are Propping Up The First-Time Home Buyer Segment

Single women are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the housing market.

Single women are proving to be a powerful force in the housing market, accounting for ownership of about 5.2 million homes, while single men own about 3.6 million homes in America’s 50 largest metros.

This might seem a bit surprising, considering that in 2020, women were making only 81 cents for every dollar a man earned, according to research by PayScale. But nonetheless, a new report by LendingTree found that in all of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, single women own more homes than single men do.

According to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, the median age of single female first-time home buyers is 33, while the median age of single female repeat buyers is 59.

Single women are much more likely than a married couple to purchase a townhome or condo. And single women, more than any other household composition, cited the convenience to friends and family as an influencing factor in their neighborhood choice, at 50 percent.

The pandemic has accelerated the urgency to buy homes. Buyers have sought housing with more rooms, more square footage and more yard space, as they embraced home workouts and working from home.

There isn’t a single metro among the largest 50 where single men own more homes than single women, reports LendingTree, which analyzed Census Bureau data. The average difference between the share of homes that single women own compared to single men is 3.7%.

Las Vegas has the smallest gap in homeownership rates among single women and men, at 0.45%, much smaller than the 50-metro average. Even so, single women there still own 1,900 more homes than single men.

Boston has the largest gap, 5.86%, in homeownership rates among single women and men, which amounts to nearly 66,300 homes.

Tampa has the highest share of homes owned by single women with 16.83% — or nearly 132,500 — of owner-occupied households owned by single women. In contrast, Buffalo, New York is the metro with the largest share of homes owned by single men. Buffalo has 12.2% of its owner-occupied homes owned by single men, which is still less than the 15.93% owned by single women there.

Tampa, once considered a secondary market, has become one of Florida’s most desirable cities to live due to reasonably priced housing, no state income tax, overall quality of life, less traffic, open bay views, more space and year-round sunshine.

I am an award-winning journalist and former real estate editor at the Chicago Tribune, where I was cited for excellence for my work in launching and editing real estate

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