Single women outpace single men, unmarried couples in home buying

Butler County housing market has been busy, local agents say.

BY THE NUMBERS: Home buying in 2015

67: percentage of married couples buying homes

15: percentage of single women buying homes

9: percentage of single men buying homes

7: percentage of unmarried couples buying homes.

50: median age of the single-woman buyer

20: percentage of single female younger boomer buyers

51 to 60: age group with highest percentage of single female home buyers

63: percentage of all buyers with children living at home

SOURCE: 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends

Brittany Albin said she realized buying a new home made more sense than continuing to rent.

The 23-year-old Hamilton native purchased her first home Thursday in the city’s Lindenwald neighborhood for $71,000.

“It’s bigger and cheaper than an apartment, and I just wanted a new home,” she said of the 2-bedroom, 1-bath house that was on the market for three days. “I’ve got my own space, and I don’t necessarily have to have roommates.”

Albin is just one of scores of single women buying their own home in Butler County and the region.

Single women make up 15 percent of all buyers nationwide — the second largest group behind married couples — according to 2015 data from the National Association of Realtors. In Butler County, agents say single women are a force to be reckoned with, with many purchasing homes at a greater clip than the national rate.

Those percentages are substantially higher than those for single men, who make up just 9 percent of all home buyers. .

DeeDee Ollis, a Realtor who sold Albin her home, said she and other agents have seen “a significant increase” in buying activity from single women throughout Greater Cincinnati.

“Especially with the rebound of the market, everything’s been so busy,” she said. “I’ve seen it a lot just in the last two to three years. It’s usually because they don’t want to spend the money on leases.”

Nationally the number of single women buying homes has dropped some — single women represented 20 percent of the market in 2010.

Adam DeSanctis, economic issues media manager at NAR, said rising home prices and tight inventory means married couples with dual incomes have greater purchasing power than single male and female buyers.

“We do expect single buyers to return more as the economy and labor market improve and credit conditions normalize,” DeSanctis said.

That’s what’s happened to home sales in Butler County, which dipped 4 percent from 2013 to 2014 but rose 9 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati data.

Jeanette Schneider, senior vice president RE/MAX of Southern Ohio, said many single women are taking advantage of low interest rates and a strengthening housing market amid rising rent rates.

She said that increase indicates, to some degree, a greater sense of freedom and flexibility.

“I think in the past, whether it was because their incomes maybe weren’t as high as men’s … it was a little bit more of a struggle for women to save the money to buy a home,” Schneider said. “I think what this opens to them is the freedom and flexibility to have something that many of them wanted but wasn’t always a true option to them.”

The trend helps make up for investors backing out of the market in the past several years, with single women now snapping up the 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes investors previously purchased.

“From a seller’s perspective, I don’t have to worry ‘Is there going to be a buyer for my house?’ ” she said.

Having single females coming in as market force at all age points to bridge the gap in the housing market is good news “for everybody involved,” Schneider said.

“It’s great when we have more than one segment that’s an option. Whenever you’re selling something, you don’t want to have a finite pool of buyers,” she said. “If they (single women) weren’t there, that’s a loss that you would have in terms of potential candidates to buy your home.”

The highest percentage of single female home buyers was found in the 51 to 60 age group with women who are established in their careers, Schneider said.

“They’re feeling very confident where they’re at in life,” she said. “They buy a home, they’re comfortable they’re going to be there a while.”

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