Single Women: The Substantial (and Overlooked) Home-buying Demographic

By
Education & Training with Adhi Schools, LLC

Your intuition can probably tell you that married couples are the largest home-buying demographic. It makes sense: between family and financial goals and the purchasing power of two people, married couples have both the incentive and the means to purchase homes. But married couples are not the only buyers. Single women make up the second largest buying demographic, ahead of single men and unmarried couples.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, 15% of recent buyers were single women. This number may not appear to be that large to some readers, but considering 67% of buyers were married couples and the next largest buyer demographic—single males—only accounted for 9% of buyers, it is quite evident that single women are a substantial buying force.  

The highest percentage of single female buyers falls in the 51-60 year-old age range, where they actually make up 20% of buyers. 19% of buyers aged 61 to 69 are single females. Thus, this single female buyer demographic is on average a bit older than the typical buyer. This is not to suggest, however, that younger single women are not also buying homes—they make up 13% of buyers in both the under-35 and 36-50 age groups.

There are a few other statistics to keep in mind to contextualize what we know now:

·       First time home buyers made up 32% of buyers

·       The typical buyer was 44 years old—younger than the average single female buyer

·       77% of sellers were married couples—singles and unmarried couples thus account for the other 23% of sellers

So, what’s the takeaway for real estate professionals? How does this impact your business? It is important to keep an open mind and forego any conventional wisdom that leads you to limit your network. Married couples might make up the majority of active buyers, but there are other demographics—most notably single women—that are active buyers and sellers. Think about ways to expand your network to better utilize this knowledge.


Any comments or questions? Let me know below!

Posted by

Cody Carmen

Comments (35)

Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Interesting information, yet, marketing to unmarried women has many challenges but none that can't be resolved with a process to qualify and eventually close. With home appreciation above 4%, with some areas at 7% and specific tax benefits that increase income, it is not only prudent but an excellent strategy toward building future wealth. Great post.

Feb 13, 2017 09:27 PM
Cody Carmen

Thank you Kimo Jarrett. It is definitely a challenge, but one worth tackling  

Feb 13, 2017 09:50 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Cody Carmen - interesting stats for sure. Especially the age group you mentioned for single women (in 50-60!)

Feb 13, 2017 10:38 PM
Cody Carmen

Praful Thakkar I thought the age data was very interesting as well.

Feb 14, 2017 04:13 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Cody Carmen I really enjoyed this post.  Very interesting and to be honest, I did not know this.  So now that I do, I am rethinking some marketing I was thinking of doing. THANKS! 

Feb 13, 2017 10:47 PM
Cody Carmen

Diana Dahlberg happy this was useful! Perhaps I will see a blog on these strategies at a later date!

Feb 14, 2017 04:14 PM
Diana Dahlberg

You never know!  Cody Carmen 

Feb 15, 2017 05:16 PM
Randy Elliott
RE/MAX Gold - Lodi, CA
REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA

Some of my favorite and easist clients to work with have been single women. They knew what they wanted, were well prepared, and made the whole process go smoothly. 

Feb 14, 2017 01:10 AM
Cody Carmen

Randy Elliott thank you for sharing these valuable experiences. I'm happy to see comments like this enforcing how useful the data can be

Feb 14, 2017 04:14 PM
Bruce Minter
James & Lee Realty - Virginia Beach, VA
One on one - Every step of the way!

I am an SRES and geofarm my 55 and better condo community. You are right on as to the demographics. I see many single women buyers coming into our community. I guess it's a function of men passing before women or divorce. My last three listings have gone to single women and of course many of my listings are single women as they transition from independent living to moving in with family or assisted living due to declining health.

Feb 14, 2017 02:56 AM
Cody Carmen

Bruce Minter I think your comment works well with the age stats in the article. There are reasons for every stat

Feb 14, 2017 04:15 PM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Cody Carmen Not overlooked by us. Here in Sarasota, I deal with many single women. I won't mention their age however. In San Diego, absolutely.

Feb 14, 2017 03:57 AM
Cody Carmen

Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI NMLS#1483386 awesome to hear that

Feb 14, 2017 04:15 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I have had single female buyers, so totally concur that this is an active segment.

Feb 14, 2017 04:05 AM
Cody Carmen

Thank you for sharing your experiences Kat Palmiotti

Feb 14, 2017 04:16 PM
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

I am working with a single mom now. We are scheduled to close by the first of the month.  It is not uncommon here for the ladies to buy  as the need security for the children and are tired of paying rent.

Feb 14, 2017 05:44 AM
Cody Carmen

Rose Mary Justice the economic incentives are absolutely undeniable

Feb 14, 2017 04:16 PM
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

Very true. My wife sells 55+ and I was surprised the number of single ladies that are buying for many different reasons.

Feb 14, 2017 08:01 AM
Cody Carmen

Donna & Larry Johnson I liked that part about many different reasons. It is important to understand different motivations for buyers in all different demographic groups

Feb 14, 2017 04:17 PM
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

A very informative post, thanks for your time

Feb 14, 2017 08:22 AM
Cody Carmen

And thank you for your comment Ron Aguilar, happy to be of service 

Feb 14, 2017 04:17 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

There's a lot of truth in these stats when I think about my own business. i see many women who are boomer age, divorced, and ready to take care of themselves first !!  They get the house or condo that fits their current lifestyle.

Feb 14, 2017 01:08 PM
Cody Carmen

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR I absolutely believe that! Lifestyles change and so do buying decisions 

Feb 14, 2017 04:18 PM
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Single women do make money and they do spend it. Thanks, Cody Carmen, for recognizing their buying power. You've used statistics to provide another informative piece.

Feb 14, 2017 03:57 PM
Cody Carmen

Cheryl Dukes - Atlanta absolutely! The statistics do not lie

Feb 14, 2017 04:18 PM
Mike Bjork
Evolve Bank & Trust - Redondo Beach, CA

Hi Cody,

Do you know if that segment (50+ single women), if they're First Time Home Buyers or are recently divorced/widowed?  I heard the Single Woman was a neglected segment, but didn't realize the breakdown; and the women in the 50+ were the larger group.  I was initially thinking the young First Time Home Buyer.  Thanks, it's an interesting demographic that you've covered here.

Feb 14, 2017 04:00 PM
Cody Carmen

Mike Bjork I haven't seen a stat on how many of the 50+ single women are first time buyers. I suspect that a good number of them (although no idea if this would be a statistical majority) are first time solo buyers as many may have purchased homes with a spouse or partner in the past. But you had a good thought on young single first time buyers as the stats show that it is another large (albeit smaller) demographic

Feb 14, 2017 04:20 PM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Nice to see this report.  Was unaware of the percentages and this will be welcome news to single women who have been reluctant to purchase.

Feb 15, 2017 07:02 AM
Cody Carmen

Anna Hatridge absolutely, I agree. Might be the encouragement to someone unsure if they are ready.

Feb 15, 2017 12:29 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The womans part in anything can never be under-estimated.....richfuscious

Feb 15, 2017 08:18 AM
Cody Carmen

Richie Alan Naggar too true!

Feb 15, 2017 12:28 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Yes single women rock!  And they can make their own decisions and everything!

Feb 15, 2017 07:54 PM
Cody Carmen

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 like investing in a house!

Feb 16, 2017 08:28 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I was just thinking of posting those graphics today as a matter of fact.

Feb 17, 2017 11:34 AM
Cody Carmen

Lyn Sims great minds thinking alike I suppose!

Feb 23, 2017 11:45 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This explains why I've worked with so many single women.  I've helped many young women in their twenties purchase their first homes.  Often they are buying a home from a seller who is also single woman.

Feb 17, 2017 08:29 PM
Cody Carmen

Sharon Parisi that is great to hear!

Feb 23, 2017 11:45 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Power in the numbers Cody Carmen and all the segments in the real estate audience need attention because they add up collectively. Don't make your marketing just blah and one size fits all. See the singles in the audience and craft the blogs, structure the videos, imagery to pull at their heart strings and meet their special needs.

Apr 04, 2017 03:11 AM
Cody Carmen

Andrew Mooers I absolutely agree. We have so much data readily available to us now that allows more specialized and targeted marketing.

Apr 04, 2017 07:43 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

My personal experience as an LO certainly backs these stats up, Cody Carmen ... as I have a good number of single-female buyers in my database ... far more than single men.  As a side note, I typically find these buyers far more engaged in their process from every aspect ...   

Gene

Apr 12, 2017 08:33 AM
Cody Carmen

Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi I have definitely heard similar things from other people. Perhaps the sole responsibility (as opposed to the shared responsiblity of couples purchasing a home) both forces people to be more engaged and only attracts those more likely to be engaged?

Apr 13, 2017 12:32 PM