In spite of the wage differences, the statistics on savings and debt, and the struggles of single parenthood, the number of women buying homes without a spouse or partner is on the rise, according to Bloomberg.  This rite of passage, previously reserved for happily married couples, now has a fresh, inspiring and independent face.  

“By 2007, Michelle Jackson, a 30-something writer in Denver, held a master’s degree, had traveled the world, and was enjoying her social life as a single woman. ‘I wanted to have my own place,”Jackson said. “A lot of people in my circle of friends were women purchasing their homes when they got married, but I still felt like I wanted to build my own wealth and buy. If and when I met someone, it’s something that just added to what I bring to the relationship. It didn’t make sense to wait.”

“I wanted to have my own place,” said Michelle Jackson of Denver, CO

Sentiments like Jackson’s are becoming the norm, rather than the exception, and are a far cry from the 1960’s stereotypes and prior historical barriers to women owning property. In fact, the rate at which single women are outpacing single men in home ownership is significant:  

“…single women account for 17 percent of homebuyers in the U.S., compared with 7 percent of single men. The data, from last year, are from the National Association of Realtors.”

What is driving this trend?  Research has found multiple factors that are playing a role in single women’s decisions to own a home, from the sheer numbers of young women in the marketplace to an interesting challenge of previously held stereotypes about women’s desire for marriage and settling down versus men.  

“For one, unmarried women may be likelier than men to seize singledom as a lifestyle, said Bella DePaulo, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the author of Singled Out. “Despite the stereotypes that insist that women care more about marriage than men do, it may actually be single life that women embrace more than men,” DePaulo said. “Some research suggests that single women are especially unlikely to be lonely—again, contrary to our stereotypes. … I think that buying a home is a way of living your single life fully, rather than seeing your single years as just marking time until you find The One.”

It’s clear that women are taking advantage of a world that has offered then many more opportunities for personal and professional development than in the past. For the real estate world, it will be imperative to learn whats important to single women in making their first, and subsequent, investments in the marketplace.