By Louise Bolger
Single women courted by lenders
sun staff writer
In 1973, when my husband and I purchased our first home,
the mortgage application asked for my name.
That was it.
Even though I had a very good job and a salary close to my
husbands the mortgage bankers excluded my income from
consideration for a mortgage. All of that changed in 1974,
when Congress amended the Fair Housing Act to stop sex discrimination
and help couples with two incomes qualify for financing.
If this step hadnt been taken by Congress, todays
fastest growing segment of home buyers single women
The media, from CBS news to USA Today to The Bradenton Herald,
have been reporting on the increase of single women purchasing
single family homes and condominiums on their own. Any why
not. Young women today are far more independent than their
mothers and grandmothers and are accustomed to making their
own decisions regarding finance, children and even whether
or not to marry.
More women than ever attend college and have larger incomes.
Women tend to live longer and since half of marriages end
in divorce there are more single women in the marketplace
than ever before. In addition, the natural female "nesting"
instinct makes them the demographic group builders and Realtors
should be targeting.
According to the National Association of Realtors, single
women last year bought one of every five homes sold
nearly 1.5 million.
This trend is remarkable when you compare it to 1981s
statistics when single women and single men bought virtually
the same number of properties. Single women are now buying
double the number of homes of single men. In fact, single
men buyers have slipped by a full percentage point during
the past year.
Women creating a source of wealth, and a secure haven by owning
their own homes, is a relativity new phenomena in our society
where men historically provided the means for shelter.
Mortgage lenders have created new programs and have expanded
existing programs to aid single women in qualifying for home
loans. Lenders will now count child support, and allow women
to use some alternative forms of credit history such as phone
bill records to prove credit worthiness. They will also consider
divorced women as first time buyers even if they previously
owned a home with a former spouse in order to qualify them
for first time buyer programs and assistance.
All of this has not been lost on homebuilders who are starting
to design homes with features preferred by women. Primarily
all women want more security than men including gated communities
with more street lights and courtyard designs providing a
stronger sense of security. Women also prefer smaller maintenance-free
homes and condominiums with of course larger closets, landscape
maintenance included, energy efficient appliances and amenities
like gyms, pools and game rooms.
Sixty percent of homebuyers in the country are still married
couples, but single women are the largest growing trend by
far, and thats a fact that everyone in the real estate
industry should note. The large number of smaller homes and
condominiums for sale on Anna Maria would seem to be the perfect
fit for single women of all ages.
If youre a single woman tired of waiting for Mr. Right
to come along to get your piece of the American Dream, its
now easier than ever to do it on your own. If youre
a real estate professional, pay attention to this growing
trend of homebuyers. 1973 may seem like ancient history, but
its just a blip on historys time line.
Who knows what the next real estate trend will be?