When 25-year-old Briana Thomas, a captain in the military, was stationed in Boston last year she easily made the decision to purchase a home.
“My overall thinking was, ‘Why pay rent to another person when I can pay rent to myself, and build equity at the same time,’” says Thomas, who owns a condo in Chelsea, Mass., and spoke to us via e-mail.
Thomas is one of a growing number of single females who is forgoing the belief that women should wait for marriage before purchasing a home. In fact, according to recent studies, and analysis from housing experts and brokers, single women continue to outpace the number of single men in the real estate market.
A 2009 study from the National Association Realtors found that 21 percent of homebuyers were single females compared to 10 percent single males. In addition, a quarter of the nation’s first-time homebuyers are single females, according to the NAR’s survey.
“The primary reason for [single females] buying a home is that they want to it make it their own. They want to own it, paint the walls, establish a household they can call their home,” said Jessica Lautz, an NAR research economist who compiled the results. “They make more sacrifices to get into a home like forgoing luxury items, entertainment, clothes.”
Boston broker Paul Santucci says he sees only one single male buyer for every four single female buyers.
“My single male buyers are more apt to wander off the path of buying a home. Whereas my single female clients are focused, they knew where they want to live and how much they want to spend,” he says.
According to Jennifer Musselman, author of “Own It! The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone,” women are now investing in their futures and fulfilling their dreams without a male by their side.
“Women have started to say ‘I can’t rely on other people like the women did in the ’50s.’ Today we are making up half the workforce, and living alone longer,” says Musselman, 36, who purchased her first home in Los Angeles five years ago. “Whether its divorce, death or whatever, they feel they need to be involved in their own finances and the happiness of their life overall.”
For Lauren Castilla, who purchased her first home in Philadelphia right out of college, the idea of holding out for marriage to buy real estate seems absurd. “Society has changed,” she says. “Single women don’t need to have a husband in order to be a homeowner.”