Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Celebrating the Single Female Home Buyer

Single female homebuyers have historically been second only to married couples since 1981. They are a celebrated force in the home buying market, and are currently 17% of the buying market.

In recent years, the share of single female buyers has retreated, however that trend is most pronounced among single female first-time buyers. In 2006, 27%  of first-time buyers were single females and today 17% are. However, in that same time period, there has been a rise in unmarried couples and roommates purchasing – perhaps pooling multiple incomes to purchase due to affordability constraints. The share of single female repeat buyers, however, has remained somewhat consistent in comparison—starting at 18% and ending at 17% over the same time period.

Line graph: Single Female Home Buyers 2006-2019

When exploring the age of a single female buyer, she typically falls into the Baby Boomer or Silent Generation age category. The median age of a single female buyer is 54. More than one in five buyers over the age of 55 is a single female buyer. It is possible she was married in the past and is now divorced or widowed or was never married.

Bar chart: Single Female Buyers by Generation

Single female buyers often are caregivers—20% have children under the age of 18 in the home and 12% purchased a multi-generational home to care for aging parents or to accommodate children over the age of 18. Regardless of whether loved ones are in the home itself, she places a high priority on them being in the neighborhood she purchases. Proximity to friends and family is more important to her than other buyers. Also unique to the single female buyer is the desire to have a home that has outdoor space for her pet or is close to the vet, and is also close to health facilities.

The single female buyer is also is purchasing a home traditionally with the lowest household income of all other buyers at $65,000. Signaling how important this home purchase is to her, 46% made financial sacrifices to purchase a home of their own—most commonly cutting spending on non-essential items, entertainment, and clothes. When reflecting on the mortgage application process, 71% found it not more difficult or even easier than expected.

To check out more home buying trends on single females, and other buyers, go to https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends.

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