I was talking to someone recently about my desire to sell Monkey Valley and pay off the mortgage on my Vancouver townhouse. This person expressed the opinion that single women don’t own their own homes very often, and it is a lofty goal to shoot for. This didn’t sit too well with me. So I thought I’d do a little research.
20% of home buyers in North America are single women
According to a Globe and Mail article from June 2012, which quoted from a report released by the U.S. National Association of Realtors, single women comprise 20 per cent of all home buyers!
15% of home buyers in the Lower Mainland are single women
While the Globe and Mail article said the stats aren’t available for Canada, an informal survey conducted by the B.C. Real Estate Association said that single women make up at least 15% of real estate purchases in the Lower Mainland. All right! And that fits with what I know. Since most of the women I know are single, and many of them own their homes, reality seems to match the statistics. Interestingly, only 10% of real estate purchases are by single men.
The article gives several reasons for this shift from the previous pattern of women waiting to marry before purchasing their homes:
- Women are marrying later, if at all. (The stats from StatsCanada for 2008 were 4.4 marriages per 1,000 people, the lowest marriage rate in the last century.)
- Women are nesters, and want the security of owning their home.
- Women think about the long term.
- Women are financially responsible, and like equity investments.
According to Ross McCredie, president of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, single women home buyers do more due diligence to make informed decisions than other home buyers. He says, “The standard realtor is a 57-year-old middle-aged male who think he knows a lot more than a 26-year-old girl that just came in. And that’s not flying with them. It’s funny to watch.” All right, sisters!
I meant that metaphorically, but my youngest sister, who is now 29, just bought her second home last year. She built the first one herself! Sisters are doing it for themselves…
What single women look for in a home
About.com has another great article on the topic, describing the features that single women home owners look for. I could relate to a lot of them:
- Prefer 2 bedrooms or more.
- Buy in city over suburban areas; will not compromise on desired location
- Prefer condos (or townhouses) with well-run homeowner associations over single family homes
- Desire security
- Like to engage in social interaction with neighbours
- Want close proximity to stores and fitness centres
When I chose my home, proximity to Commercial Drive and to my favourite running trails were key elements about the location. I was lucky enough to find a townhouse building with fantastic neighbours and to get an awesome view, too!
Persistence pays off
As a footnote to this entry, as you know, I did sell Monkey Valley in August 2013, and paid off my mortgage within 5 days of the closing date. Woohoo! It took four years of persistence to reach my dream of owning a home on Wall Street. And decades of foundational work. But I want you all to know it can be done, by ordinary women like you and me. Go, sisters!