Skip to comments.Single, but Laying Down Roots [Now, 21% of all home purchases are by single women buyers]
Posted on 01/18/2004 10:20:57 AM PST by summer
Single, but Laying Down Roots
By ABBY ELLIN
Published: January 18, 2004
VIRGINIA WOOLF was wrong. Women don't need just a room of their own. They need an entire home.
Many young single women are reaching that conclusion. As they earn higher wages and delay marriage, more of them are realizing that equity-building is not just smart but also essential - and that real estate is often the wisest way to do it.
The National Association of Realtors in Washington reports that single women accounted for 21 percent of all home purchases in 2003, up from 18 percent in 1997. And more than three-quarters of the home-buying women in 2003 did not have children, compared with just more than half of the women buying homes six years ago.
Steve Murray, the editor of Real Trends, a newsletter about the housing industry, says the trend is clear. "I've seen it all over the country, and not just in the big cities: more women are on career paths, and they see the value of owning a home," he said, noting the low level of interest rates. Paul Purcell, a partner at Braddock & Purcell, a residential real estate consulting firm in Manhattan, says that about half of his customers - the highest share in his 25 years in the industry - are single women who are first-time home buyers. "In the old days you stayed in your rental until you got married," he said.
"Increasingly, young people are realizing that residential real estate is a commodity, and that if they need a bigger space once they settle down, they can sell their home, make a sizable profit and buy again," he added. "Why put your life on hold while waiting for that special someone?"
That is what Jeanne Cook, 33, a pharmacist from Wurtsboro, N.Y., thought when she bought her own place about six years ago. She had just ended an eight-year relationship, so the decision was both economic and therapeutic.
"It was a fixer-upper, and I threw myself into it," she said of her home. "Women today have our own careers, and too many of us wait for the perfect guy and he doesn't come along. If he comes along eventually, great, but if he doesn't, set yourself up toward a goal. That way at least you've got half of what you wanted."
Of course, there are still hurdles. It's one thing to shell out money on, say, a pair of Manolo Blahniks or a trip to Brazil. It's quite another to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on a permanent residence - especially one that, as New Yorkers know, can be the size of an elevator.
And then there are nonfinancial issues. Despite the strides that young women have made professionally, some women still hope in the back of their minds that Romeo will whisk them off into financial stability.
"I was the homecoming queen; isn't the homecoming queen supposed to be married by 22?" asked Jeanmarie Coates, 30, a nurse in New York City who is single.
Ms. Coates recently had to decide between two job offers. One position was appealing but not lucrative, she said, while the other paid well but was less interesting. If she took the higher-paying job, she could save for a down payment on an apartment. "I have a fear of taking a job that enables me to realize my dream of buying a place of my own," she said before making her decision. "I always thought I'd meet someone and we'd do it together. But how long do you wait?"
Last week, after much deliberation, she chose the higher-paying job.
Fewer men seem to share those fears. Sam Mirkin, 33, a financial planner in Boston, said that when he bought a condominium six years ago, "I was very single, but I thought it was a good investment; my relationship status never entered the equation."
FOR young single women, many forces are inspiring home-buying decisions. Clearly, such women are being recognized as a viable market segment: home-buying seminars for women have cropped up around the country; advertising by real estate companies often features single women, not just couples; and home improvement programs and magazines are acknowledging that women can actually hang curtains by themselves.
Few people - men or women - want to be alone, but finding love can be dicey. Building equity, on the other hand, is often within reach.
Ms. Coates is changing her thinking. "I can control my job, whether or not I have a child on my own, if I go back to school, but I can't control who I fall in love with," she said. "I've wasted too much time waiting for something that's beyond my control. It's time to move forward."
Virginia Woolf would have been proud.
Abby Ellin is a Manhattan writer. Her column on starting out in the world of money appears the third Sunday of each month. E-mail:
My 26-year old daughter bought a home last year for $190K. It's now worth $240K. I'd say the 26% yearly increase in value outweighs the 5.75% mortgage she's paying.
(Plus her house payment is the same as a one bedroom plus den apartment)
These are the people that fawn over my children--or tell me to send them to the mines.
I just laughed so hard I cried! Thanks, I needed that! Seriously, history has shown that whenever people start believing in mass that an investment can only appreciate (whether it's real estate, tech stocks, gold, or tulips), it is almost exactly the right time to sell since a market collapse is eminent. Maybe land in Florida will prove to be the first exception, but I would warn people to do a little reading before blinding trusting your assertion.
Sorry, but you are wrong.
Last time I looked, nobody was making more land.
And the cheapseats have already been bought up.
And population pressure plus low interest rates will continue to drive up the price of housing at a slow but steady rate.
That all depend on what you buy, where you buy, when you buy and how fast you pre-pay your mortgage.
I have two houses, one in California and one in Washington State, that are both fully paid for and are now both worth three times more than what I paid for them.
The people who live in my California house think the way you do and they are paying for my kid's future college education to the tune of $1,400.00 per month.
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