Women seeking women seeking mortgage 0
In 2003, approximately 21 per cent of all homebuyers were single women for a total of 1.7 million.
Not only are Ashley and Ashton Carthans twin sisters, they were just 19 when they bought their home. Now 20, they are both full-time business administration students, holding down full-time jobs.
So, armed with a down payment pooled from high school graduation gifts and their respective 401(k) retirement savings accounts, the twins took the plunge and purchased a home in a Lennar community (a Midwest builder) convenient to work and school.
"When we moved in, a lot of people were surprised when they heard how old we were. I guess it's pretty unusual for two teenagers, much less teenage twin sisters, to purchase a home," says Ashley. "But Ashton and I always planned to live together. For us, owning our own place after graduating from high school was the next logical step."
Chipping in on a House:
There's a booming new trend in real estate these days: single women of all ages, income levels and races (headline notwithstanding), buying homes together. In years past, most women waited until they got married to purchase a home. Now, increasing numbers of single women are buying homes with friends, relatives or on their own. The trend is called "Creative Homebuying." Why wait around for Mr. Right to show up when you can start feathering your own nest?
Nan Andrews Amish, a marketing consultant and trend tracker says, "If you are not married or in a long-term relationship, why should that limit your ability to purchase a home? In many metropolitan areas, the cost of real estate is high. Two incomes help."
According to the U.S. National Association of Realtors:
- In 2003, approximately 21 per cent of all homebuyers were single women for a total of 1.7 million.
- Single women purchased approximately one in five homes in 2003, while only one in 10 were purchased by single men.
- Almost one-quarter of the United State's nearly eight million single mothers spend more than half their incomes on housing, compared with one-tenth of households headed by single fathers.
- Over the time period of 1994-2002, the number of unmarried females owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.
The Canadian Market:
The Canadian real estate market is facing the same boom. A survey conducted by Royal LePage, Canada's leading real-estate company, found that "among those who have never owned a home, 55 per cent of women said they will potentially purchase their first property in the next three years, compared with just 45 per cent of men."
Dave Jenks, co-author of The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, says that in today's climate, "Women are more career-driven, independent and financially savvy," -- likely a huge factor in why more single women are buying homes than ever before.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson, author of The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook: 150 Insider Secrets, Decision Making Guides & Online Resources (www.rethinkrealestate.com) says, "Relative to earlier eras, women today marry later -- or not at all; earn more; become single multiple times in their lives, and are more concerned with responsibly managing their personal finances.
All of these items contribute to the skyrocketing rate of single women buying homes. As well, the stigma previous generations placed on single women has virtually vanished, making single women less likely to wait until they get married to become homeowners." The End of the Old Maid:
All of these items contribute to the skyrocketing rate of single women buying homes. As well, the stigma previous generations placed on single women has virtually vanished, making single women less likely to wait until they get married to become homeowners."
The End of the Old Maid:
Buying a house as a single woman no longer implies that you've accepted your fate as an old maid. Now, it means you're smart.
According to Nelson, single women are buying homes together for several reasons. "Clearly, two purses are better than one -- two professional women who combine their economic resources can certainly purchase a bigger and better property than either would have been able to do alone. I've found that many of my clients who have bought with friends simply like to have the emotional support of a 'chosen' family at home.
"Single women who buy together tend to buy with other women with similar lifestyles: single moms buy with other single moms, women without kids also seek like co-owners. These women can then support each other, picking up the slack when one needs a babysitter or the other needs to travel for work. Living with others also seems more secure than living alone, to many single women, and the home maintenance burdens can also be lightened by such an arrangement."
Nelson adds, "Increasingly, women have become more and more open to home-buying 'teams' comprised of strangers -- well, people who were strangers to one another before their interests (and the stars) became aligned."
It's a Female Thing:
For some reason, however, single men don't seem to be getting in on the home-buying action. Nelson says, "In my own practice, I have never known single men to buy with their friends. Gay couples, yes, but truly single men -- no. Women bring this possibility up much more frequently. Frankly, single men are much less likely to buy at all -- less than half as many single men buy homes than single women. "
But, before you head down to your friendly neighborhood mortgage broker, remember that buying a home with someone can have its pitfalls as well. The smartest plan is to get the issues on the table before you ever sign on the dotted line. According to Nelson, you should draw up papers now to avoid drama later "covering issues like how maintenance costs will be shared and what will happen if one owner dies, loses their job, or wants to sell their unit."
Personally, I know a number of single women who have purchased homes together, and I have to say, it seems to work out pretty well for everyone. Aside from no longer throwing away their rent money, there are lots of other benefits as well. They trade off cooking responsibilities, take turns doing the yard work, and with all women in the house, nobody is insisting on putting an ugly plaid recliner smack in the middle of the formal living room. Sounds like domestic bliss to me.