Younger women may find it hard to imagine that only 50 years ago a women getting a credit card, much less a mortgage, without her husband’s or father’s signature was almost unheard of. Young women half a century ago would find it equally incomprehensible that women today not only buy their own homes, but go to college at a rate higher than that of men, enjoy substantially higher incomes, and often defer marriage until after they are established in their career or eschew it entirely while choosing to have children outside the construct of a traditional marriage.
Since the mid 1990’s, single women have purchased homes at a rate twice that of single men. In 2018, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2018 report “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends,” single women account for the second-largest group of home buyers, making up 18% of home buyers in 2017, behind married couples.
The reasons are not easily discerned, but statistics tell a story of women making the most of progressive shifts in social attitudes and legal advances over the last half century that have opened doors for women that were previously unheard of.
FRUITS OF OUR LABOR. While there still remains a gender wage gap, women’s income has risen steadily for decades. According to the US Census Bureau’s annual report on income, women’s wages increased 30% when adjusted for inflation between 1973 and 2014. One study reported by Time Magazine, stated that in some cities — including Atlanta — single childless women are earning as much as 20% more than their single male counterparts. Buying a home is a sense of pride and accomplishment for many successful women.
SMART BUDGETING. Even with rising incomes, women are mindful of their money. Rising rental prices in many cities are outpacing wage increases. Apartment List analyzed US Census data and reported that average rent increased 67% when adjusted for inflation between 1960 and 2014. Between 2000 and 2010, rent increased 12% and median household income fell 7%. Many women find that low interest rates and other factors can make buying a home more affordable than renting.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE. More women are waiting until later in life to marry and have children. In 1960, the median age for a woman to marry was 20. US Census data reports that age has risen to 27 in 2018. The US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016 for the first time more women are having their first child in their 30’s than in their 20’s. Buying a home is an asset women can now bring to their marriage partnership to use as a source of rental income or to sell and put towards a larger home to share with their partner and future children.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE. While some women are marrying and starting families later in life, others are choosing to eschew marriage and many are opting to not only stay single but also raise children on their own. Single women with children in their household often put more weight on the value of a stable community. According the the US Census data, renters move 5x as often as homeowners. Purchasing a home in an area with high home ownership rates can provide a strong community backdrop for raising children.
READY TO FIND YOUR PERFECT MATCH? The trusted Atlanta real estate advisors at Team Sterling can help you find the right Atlanta home or condo for sale and navigate the home buying process with data driven insights and local market expertise.