For real estate agents to be better prepared to serve women homebuyers, they must recognize women’s power as a buying pool and understand the meaning of homeownership to women—the fastest-growing and most exciting market in the housing ecosystem.Delaying marriage, higher educational attainment and presence in higher-paying jobs have made women a budding home-buying market:According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), single women comprised 17 percent of homebuyers in the past year, while single men made up 7 percent.The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2016, 49.8 percent of single women were homeowners compared to 46.8 percent of single men, and single women have outpaced single men in homeownership since 1986.Women’s success in homeownership is an inspiring feat—as they’ve had to balance the gender wage gap and higher mortgage rates—and, despite these developments that have assisted women homebuyers, their personal willingness and sacrifice to become homeowners is where the credit is due.A SanctuaryTo women, homeownership doesn’t simply mean growing wealth or diversifying portfolios. A woman’s home is her sanctuary, a place of personal freedom, security and comfort in an impacting world. Single women pursue homeownership for various reasons, but they all relate to the desire for freedom—in where they want to live, and how they want to live.In response to NAWRB’s question regarding how important women consider homeownership and their personal home-buying obstacles on the subreddit AskWomen (/r/AskWomen), one respondent stated, “I enjoy it [homeownership] and am privileged enough to be able to budget for both mundane upkeep and larger maintenance issues. It gives me the freedom to use the property as I see fit, gives me the space that I always wanted, but never had while renting, and, all told, actually costs less per month than renting did.”This relationship with your house is an irreplaceable characteristic of owning where you live. The confidence and security of knowing you have the power to use and modify your property as you please is an indescribable feeling. From being closer to family and having a property for their pets to providing a stable home to raise children, women are searching for these freedoms.One of the most long-term aspects of women’s homeownership is the benefit it carries for future generations. Homeownership is an invaluable contributor to generational growth, and women homeowners are effectively paving the way for future generations of women and girls to succeed.As a real estate professional, understand that single women aren’t waiting for marriage to obtain these benefits; they will make necessary sacrifices to attain them, whether it means taking a second job or adjusting their budgets to afford a down payment. Women are living their single lives fully, and they’re empowered.Understanding the motivations of women homebuyers and what owning a home truly means to them will help real estate professionals serve this fast-growing buying pool.
Desirée Patno is president and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).
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