The number of single women buying homes is on the rise both nationally and locally.
“At least in the past year to year and a half, the majority of my clients have either been a couple buying a home or single women,” said Larissa Bottenfield, a broker associate for Re/Max Integrity. “I’ve had some single men buy, but I would say the majority of the time it’s either a couple or single woman. I think maybe single guys like the ability to be able to get up and move wherever and enjoy their bachelor life.”
Last year, single women were the second-largest market of home buyers in both the Mountain Region and nationwide, according to survey data from the National Association of Realtors. The Mountain Region includes Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.
Married couples nationally in 2017 purchased 65 percent of the homes, single women bought 18 percent, unattached men 7 percent, unmarried couples 8 percent and the last 2 percent didn’t fit any of those categories. The findings were similar for the Mountain Region with single women purchasing slightly more inventory at 19 percent.
“I really don’t know how to pinpoint why there are more single women than men buying, but I feel like there is more of a sense of empowerment for women and them realizing you don’t have to have a man to buy a house,” Bottenfield said, adding she’s noticed a trend locally in more female military personnel buying homes.
“I’ve really noticed younger, female service members taking advantage of their VA loan, which I think is directly impacting the amount of single-women home buyers in the area,” she said.
When using a VA loan, service members or veterans normally aren’t required to come up with a down payment.
“They also can use it [the VA loan] multiple times, but I still hear a lot of military people say, ‘I want to wait until we know for sure this is where we are settling down,’ and I’m like, ‘You don’t have to do that,’” Bottenfield said. “If you want to buy a home here, you can buy that home and use your VA home loan, and then sell it and use your VA loan at your next duty station too.”
She also has noticed more single women from the health care and education professions becoming homeowners.
“I actually am helping a single [female] teacher right now, but there’s a lot more nurses and even some veterinarians out looking for homes it seems,” Bottenfield said. “I think it’s because there’s starting to be more opportunities for women and better pay. Women are being taken more seriously in their workplaces and are being given more chances to advance at their jobs.”
Additionally, an “extremely expensive and skyrocketing rental market” is pushing single women to pursue home ownership.
“It is so much cheaper usually to buy a home,” Bottenfield said. “That really kind of puts the fire under people to at least explore that option of buying — single or not.”
Amy Reid, the CEO of Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, said she believes it’s also “divorced or single women who just want to own their own home,” adding they also get some financial security from their investment.
Jessica Lautz, the director of demographic and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors, told The Washington Post that single female homebuyers are more likely than men to see the purchases as investments.
They also pay higher prices for their homes than single men — about a $10,000 difference — and are more likely to have children included in their households.
An interesting fact about the majority of single women buying homes is their average age is 55, Reid said.
“They are older; they are not the Millennials,” she said. “And it does surprise me to hear about more single women buying homes and their age, but we are seeing Millennials start to move into the home market in Colorado Springs, Colorado and in the nation.”
Whether single or married, Millennials tend to desire homes more centrally located with walking or mass transit access to amenities.
“The main thing that was keeping them out of the market was their student loans but that’s starting to get a little better,” Reid said. “The National Association of Realtors is working very hard to see if there is any way as a trade that we can help with student loans [that are] preventing younger generations from purchasing their first home.”
In the Mountain Region, the median age of home buyers is 47, which is lower than the nationwide median age of 55.
“I feel like I have a good mix of single women who are all ages, at least in my personal business,” Bottenfield said. “A lot of the older single women are starting over from divorce, or I see a lot of them downsizing as soon as their kids graduate and go off to college.”
Bottenfield said there doesn’t seem to be any particular concentration in Colorado Springs for the single female demographic.
“You would think there would be, but honestly, no, I haven’t noticed them clustering anywhere,” she said. “I have had single women look and buy homes in almost every area of town.”
The home models sought by the single female demographic normally are on the smaller side — two to three bedrooms and one bathroom.
“A lot of people are interested in the Old Colorado City area because it’s got a lot of cool, older homes, but they end up settling in areas all around the city,” Bottenfield said. “They just want out of the rental market as fast as possible and are really realizing how wise of an investment a home can be for them.”