Marcia's Blog

Why the industry must embrace single women

While we often talk about homeownership as a logical step for a growing family, the truth of the matter is that single women are representing a larger part of the homeownership pie.

While married couples make up 54 percent of first-time homebuyers, single women are the next biggest group at 18 percent, according to MGIC Connects.

If you’re wondering whether this trend will continue, consider this:

  • Thirty-six percent of single women live at home with parents or relatives. That percentage is the highest since 1940.
  • Among millennials, 45 percent of women are enrolled in college, compared to 38 percent of men. Millennial women are also more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than their male counterparts.

Those statistics suggest that single women represent an enormous pool of potential homebuyers for the industry to service. In order to reach this group, it’s important that we consider the unique needs that women have.

To reach out to single women:

We have to let them know homeownership is possible. It’s amazing what one can accomplish when they’re given encouragement.  For example, one of HomeFree-USA’s recent success stories, a first-time homebuyer named Christine, decided to buy a home after her father suggested she start building wealth through homeownership.  Christine’s father provided the spark of inspiration she needed to make one of the best financial decisions of her life.

Unfortunately, all single women don’t have a family member or trusted friend to push them toward homeownership, so as an industry, we must take on that role.  We have to show single women how they can improve the trajectory of their financial lives and motivate them by exposing them to other women, like Christine, who have done it.

We have to adapt our message to single women’s needs. A single woman isn’t going to be moved by the same messaging that’s effective with parents of growing children. For example, a single woman’s primary concern isn’t likely to be finding a home with a yard for children to play in. However, she can relate to the idea of building wealth and improving her financial stature. She can relate to making wise decisions with her money. For Christine, one of the motivating factors was the realization that her money was being wasted on rising rent payments. By purchasing her own home, she was able to build equity with the money she was spending on housing anyway.

We have to offer support. Buying a home can be an intimidating experience for anybody. When you’re buying as a single person, there may not be anyone around to share the burden. For that reason, it’s particularly important that we provide singles with the financial education and the guidance they need. Christine credits the one-on-one counseling she received at HomeFree-USA with exposing her to down-payment assistance programs and giving her the patience and knowledge she needed to get through the process.

Single women have become a formidable force in the mortgage industry. If we don’t take special care to address their unique needs, we’re doing them—and the industry—a disservice.