This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

August 22, 2007

More Single Women Buying Homes

As more women postpone marriage and family, we see them choosing to buy their own homes as individuals. Some say they are taking a stand for "financial independence" and others say they say they are investing for the future. Whatever the reason, there is a definite trend towards more single women buying homes of their own.

Right now, the bulk of home buyers are still married couples (60 percent). However, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors shows unmarried women represent 22 percent of the total homes purchased in the United States; up from 14 percent in 1995. That is a more than 50 percent increase in only 12 years.

Last summer, a study issued by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies found that unmarried women buy about one million homes every year; and between 2002 and 2003, they spent $550 billion on residential real estate.

According to this Harvard study, single women prefer homes in the city to the suburbs and generally will not choose new construction. Seeking a stronger sense of safety, while requiring less maintenance, most women buy smaller homes or less-expensive condominiums.

Builders are taking notice of this growing trend as are the leading edge Realtors. For years, builders have targeted women by decorating their model homes with lighter and brighter colors and showing kitchen upgrades, as well as promoting the security of attached garages. Smart real estate brokers marketing to women home buyers emphasize the safety of neighborhoods.

What is behind this interesting phenomenon is a major societal shift. Women are waiting longer to marry and have families and certainly now have greater financial independence, due to their economic gains realized in the workforce. Moreover, according to a 2006 study by the Rutgers University's National Marriage Project, married women who get divorced are less likely to remarry; these divorced women also remarry more slowly than their male counterparts.

Globally, we are seeing more young women becoming more independent. From some countries in Asia to others in South America, we will see this home buying trend emerge in other countries, besides the U.S.


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