Contributed by Jessica Lautz, National Assn. of REALTORS® Demographics & Behavioral Insights Director

Single female purchasers tend to be more likely to see buying a home as an investment, according to Jessica Lautz, director of demographic and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors. Single women pay slightly more on their purchase, on average, than single men — $185,000 compared with $175,000 — and are more likely to have children younger than 18 in their households.
The Washington Post (May 9, 2018)

“Interestingly, when this is controlled for square feet, type of location of the property, age of the home, beds/bath, I found even for an identical property in specs, women pay 3.1% more than other buyers,” said Lautz before the 2018 Residential Real Estate Economic Issues and Trends Forum.

“There’s more than double (the number of) single females in the market than single males,” she added during a follow up presentation of “Is the Dream Still Alive?” for the REALTOR® University Speaker Series. “(And) when they’re saving, they’re purchasing a more expensive home.” Women pay $7.2K more on average.

“It could be women make the choice to invest more, or it could be they leave money on the negotiating table,” Lautz hypothesized. “Or that the condition of the home is not taken into account, or the neighborhood type…while the same…is significantly different. All may be true. But all, lend themselves to policy implications.

Lautz is also studying the impact of student loan debt on home buying. The homeownership rate for adults under the age of 35 has dropped. She drew a close connection between student debt and the lower ownership rate.

“If I was in control of the universe, I would recommend the following (not necessarily NAR policies):

  1.   Allow borrowers to refinance and consolidate more than once
  2.   If borrower pays loan while in college, waive the interest
  3.   If income-based repayment program, at least one-dollar goes toward the principal
  4.   Require annual training to high school counselors and college financial aid counselors
  5.   Add a required course to college and high school curriculums on financial literacy
  6.   Educate professors on college textbook costs; maybe there’s another way to share books
  7.   Stop ranking high schools on college placements
  8.   Expand mortgage financing to include alternative credit scoring.”

Data from Lautz’s dissertation is expected to be completed later this year. For more research on home buying, student debt and demographics, follow her on Twitter @JessicaLautz.

Related Resources:
Is the Dream Still Alive? (slides) – Residential Real Estate Economic Issues & Trends Forum (May 17, 2018)
Highlights From the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – NAR (Oct. 2017)
Women Are Better than Men at Paying Their Mortgages – The Urban Institute (Sept. 2016)

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