Space and the Single Lady
Today’s “single ladies” are not waiting for a diamond, but instead, opting for a ring of a different kind – a key ring. An annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that eighteen percent of the homes sold to first-time buyers went to single women. That’s ten percent above first-time purchases by single men.
The fact that single women are outpacing single men in homeownership is not a 2017 phenomena. Single women, as far back as the 1990’s, have been serious about their housing needs. Walter Molony, a spokesperson for the National Association of Realtors, told the New York Times that men get more serious about housing when they “meet the right woman.” While single women still want a purposeful relationship, they also want assets, and they aren’t afraid to put their money up front.
The desire to invest wisely and have equity in a home is something that speaks to single women. The median house price paid by men is reported to be $157,000, with women close behind. A recent report by the Pew Research Center showed that the gender pay gap still exists, but women are nonetheless spending a median of $146,300 on a new home.
What Women Want
So just what do women look for in a house? Grace Ingravallo of Provident Legacy Real Estate Services says she sees a strong trend in Hoboken and Jersey City areas. Ingravallo states that her single female clients “are very specific and focus on what they need. Women tend to like spaces that make sense. Layout and practicality take precedence over square footage.” She also noted that women are more likely than men to “feel out” a space and look at the lighting and “energy” of a property.
Single Women Want No Nonsense
According to Ingravallo, “Women love the simplicity of a bright white kitchen that just feels good. They tend to have very good ideas on how they want to transform the space. Whether it be as simple as paint colors or renovating, they know what they like and what they want.” This point of view is reiterated by Caren Waxman, a decorator in Bergen County, New Jersey. She says the single ladies on her client roster want an “organized and purposeful sense of space. They want a comfortable, yet stylish, no nonsense presence.”
In Philadelphia, the majority of single women favor small, three-bedroom homes in more residential areas just outside of Center City. They prefer places like South Philly, where they can park in their own garage, and drive ten minutes to work. A neighborhood helps them feel safe, while not being disconnected from others and activities. Sherrie Boyer, of Coldwell Banker Preferred Center City, says for her single clients, “onsite parking is almost mandatory – or a lot/garage within a couple blocks.” The same is true for urban areas like Hoboken and Jersey City, where the trend, as Ingravallo puts it, is on “convenience, especially for the single women professionals.”
Beautiful Inside and Out
One thing for certain, women like a space that flows. Boyer says her Philadelphia clientele may like time on their own, but they also do a substantial amount of entertaining. Her last few clients have opted for “beautiful homes with very generous footprints on the first floor – kitchens that flow into dining rooms, and dining rooms that flow into living rooms or great rooms.” They also want things like decent sized guest rooms, a home office, separate TV room and patio or roof deck.
A Room of One’s Own
Boyer reports that single ladies absolutely don’t want an insignificant master. “Everyone wants an amply proportioned master suite with brightly lit closet space, and a walk-in shower.” While the tub can be in the guest bathroom, Boyer matched one recent woman with a “gracious soaking tub in her bathroom”. For sure, each woman wants her space to mirror her needs in the present moment, while keeping some options open.
One Cook in the Kitchen
In terms of kitchen space, women seem to prefer open formats with ample counter space. Boyer says her Center City clients don’t mind storing dishes in the living room if they have room to chat and gal around in their kitchen space. Waxman says her single clients like a space that is “multi-purposeful.” This could mean a bench with storage or a room that doubles up on duties – like an office with a sofa bed.
For the single lady, home is where the heart is. Many single women are not waiting for someone to make their house a home. Instead, they take on house hunting head on – with or without “Mr. Right”.