real estate Single women strive to buy houses

After a life of paycheck to paycheck as a single mom, Melinda wolfe determined to invest in herself and buy a house.

“It didn’t make sense to keep paying $ 1,900 To $ 2,100 [a month] in rent when it rolls out the window, ”said Wolfe, 54, who works from home for a health insurance company. “I wanted to invest in myself. … I wanted a piece of the American Dream. “

It was anything but easy. The mother of two grown children has been outbid more than 10 houses as Southern california house prices have soared by an average of 15% per year – roughly $ 1,600 one week.

She was quickly shut out of her target market in Eastvale and then to Murrieta. She eventually had to move her home search out of state, eventually buying a townhouse in Las Vegas. His receiver must close December 17th.

If she succeeds in securing her new home, Wolfe will become one of the latest in a long line of single female homebuyers who outperformed their male counterparts to get their share of the American Dream.

Buyer surveys conducted by the National Association of Real Estate Agents over the past 40 years show that single women have been the second largest demographic group among we home buyers since 1981, gradually eclipsing singles in the housing market.

Realtors posted their latest homebuyers survey on November 11th showing that in the year ending June, divorced, widowed and single women accounted for 19% of all we home sales. Single men accounted for 9%.

Single women “are an absolute force” in the housing market, said Jessica lautz, vice president of demographic and behavioral research at NAR.

“Women have only been overtaken by married couples since we followed him, which is impressive considering that until the 1970s, women needed a co-signer for a credit card,” he said. said Lautz.

Although single women traditionally have lower incomes than single men, survey responses show they are more willing to cut personal expenses to save for housing, she said.

“Women are historically more likely to believe their home is a better financial investment than stocks compared to men,” Lautz said. “They will know what their (house) payment will be for the next 30 years. This is extremely important for women.”

Delay marriage

NAR received 5,795 responses from primary home buyers who purchased a home between july 2020 and June.

The Homebuyers’ Survey was conducted 11 times periodically until 2003 and annually since 2004.

Married couples have taken the lion’s share of home buying in the past 40 years since the survey began, though their share has risen from a high of 81% in 1985 to 60% This year.

The share of homes bought by single men also changed little over the four-decade period and never exceeded 12%.

Agents surveyed recently hypothesized that single women are more caring, more likely to appreciate the investment value of homeownership, or more likely to raise children.

“Because of the nurturing aspect and the need to take care of the family, we realize that there are things that need to be done to create more stability,” said Long beach Real estate agent Crystal West, a single woman who bought her first home – a four-apartment building she shared with her tenants – in 2002.

“I’ve always wanted a home,” West said. “Yes, you do when you get married. But I wasn’t going to wait.”

manhattan beach agent Amy cimetta said some of his single clients were offended by the question of why they had bought a home without a partner.

“They’re single longer, so they buy before they get married,” said Cimetta, an agent for Vista Sotheby’s. International real estate. “I think it’s more of a social story that just reflects how old people are when they get married and have children now. It’s all increasing.”

Demographic indices

Simple demographics provide clues as to why more single buyers are women. On the one hand, they are more numerous.

Single women accounted for just over 25% of we population in 2020, while single men accounted for less than 23%, according to census data.

But that’s a gap of less than 3 percentage points, compared to the home buying gap of 10 percentage points this year.

Two other sets of statistics are much more revealing: Single women are more likely to raise children than single men, and widows outnumber widowers. By a three-to-one margin, single women with children outnumber single men and widows outnumber widowers.

A census report shows that 76% of single-parent households are headed by women, while 24% are headed by men.

“Households with children are more likely to become homeowners,” said one Urban Institute August study on gender and home ownership.

Another factor is that women tend to outlive their spouses more often than men, creating a larger pool of buyers with previous ownership experience.

Local real estate agents say single buyers of both sexes are rarer in Southern california because its house prices are among the highest in the country.

“I haven’t seen a single buyer – single woman or single man,” said Christophe foster, broker for Foster Real Estate Group in Whittier. “With the cost of housing today, you absolutely need two incomes.”

Planning decade

Susan motta, 48, said it took her 10 years to save money and repair her credit before she could buy a home.

A divorced mother who raised her son and two daughters on her own, Motta lived in several West Covina for 20 years before moving into a two-bedroom, two-story townhouse in Claremont last august.

The paralegal started to think about buying a house in the early 2000s. She was fed up with not being free to do whatever she wanted with her home. And almost all of his colleagues were owners.

In 2010, she participated in a home buying seminar led by local agents. After class, she stayed for an hour to check her credit and see if she qualified. She didn’t, but she shouldn’t be put off, said the agent, who gave her a list of things to work on.

“He said, ‘You have to be hungry for the house, decide what you want and stick with it,'” said Motta.

Over the next five years, she worked to improve her credit rating and researched the market. Through September 2020 she looked at at least 50 homes and visited 30, getting an outbid on at least 10. But her offer was eventually accepted after she proposed $ 20,000 below the asking price for his new home in June. His monthly house payment and homeowners association dues amount to only $ 116 more per month than she had paid in rent.

“I was like a unicorn because it was rare for a single woman with children to seek a home,” Motta said.

Wolfe, the Compton native, said that never in her wildest dreams would she have considered moving Las Vegas.

But the market has changed so quickly in the 16 months she spent looking for a home, and the difficulties of winning a bid or closing her escrow Murrieta were so picky, she soon discovered that there was nothing in her price range.

The idea of ​​leaving California started to make sense.

“By the time I got out of escrow in July, there was nothing on the market (I could afford it). Everything was happening in the $ 400,000‘s and more, “she said.” In my church a lot of people were leaving California because the prices were so high. “

Wolfe considered moving to Texas and Arizona before moving to two of the three model townhouses in a new part of the north Las Vegas which was in the process of tendering. She was one of 54 bidders trying to buy one of these homes, so she pushed her bid to the limit, bidding $ 348,000 for a three-bedroom, 1,400 square foot townhouse.

His offer was accepted. Wolfe will move into his new home with one of his daughters if the escrow closes as planned.

“My fingers crossed, nothing is blocking the Vegas purchase,” Wolfe said. “It has been my dream (to own a house) my whole life.”

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