There's a growing market sector of which agents should take note. Single female households are on the rise.
According to the National Association of Realtors, "Single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (24 and 12 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent)."
In the recent The State of the Nation's Housing by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, social changes during the last generation have led to higher female labor force participation rates, later age at first marriage, higher divorce rates, and lower remarriage rates. Their research shows that "the mere three percent-age point rise in headship rates among 25–34 year-olds (from 47 percent in 1970 to 50 percent in 1980) alone raised the number of household heads in this age group by fully 1.1 million." This rate is surely exponentially higher today. In just the 8 years from 1994 to 2002, unmarried females owning a home rose from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.
The report notes that these changes place "each generation on a different trajectory that persists well into middle age."
In fact, the NAR reports that twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females.
All these singles ladies add up to lots of home sales. How can you target your business to cater this market sector?
Here are a few tips. First, consider safety. If you are a male realtor, some females me feel uneasy accompanying you to homes alone. Be sure to bring along a female assistant.
Next, it's important to understand how women think. It's a tall order, but according to Inside Tucson Business, "Men are slower than women at making up their minds when it comes to decisions about real estate, according to a survey conducted for Coldwell Banker." Basically, women are more likely to know what they want right away.
This study also found that women would rather live close their extended family than job. So, be sure to find out what neighborhoods your single buyer is most interested in.
Homes with issues regarding security are deal breakers. It is your responsibility as the agent to research crime trends for neighborhoods, streets, and buildings.
Women are also more traditional, so you should market homes as such. The Coldwell Banker study found that men were four times more likely to turn an extra 12 x 12 foot space into an entertainment room. So, while you may show a house to a man pointing out all the extra rooms that can be media centers, entertainment rooms, and man caves, a women is more likely to respond to being shown the house as is. She'll come up with her own plans.
Women still earn less than men, traditionally, but don't let this age old prejudice make you jump to conclusions. There are many women breaking into the executive suite today and are looking to spend top dollar for the home of their dreams. Be sure to let the client show you what their ideal is before you make any assumptions.
Single females are a growing segment of the market. Spend some of your time catering to this wonderful group. You won't be sorry!