Why wait for Mr. Right?

Housing starts in Canada rose in 2000 and are expected to continue with that trend through 2001. "Gains in new construction this year and next will reflect employment and income growth, tax cuts, rising migration, stronger house prices and continued consumer confidence. " said Michel Laurence, Manager, Economic and Housing Analysis, at CMHC's Market Analysis. "These factors will more than offset higher mortgage rates this year and slower economic growth in 2001." One part of the growing market for homes is single women.

Young women who dream of a little house with a white picket fence are no longer waiting for Prince Charming to ride by on a white charger. Instead, an ever-increasing number of financially independent young women are buying their own homes. In both the U.S. and Canada there has been a dramatic surge in the number of unmarried women purchasing property, a 250% increase in the past decade. In the U.S., single women now make up 18% of the home buying market, versus 11% for single men.

Other realtors in Canada are noticing the same kind of increases in their markets. Women now have better paying jobs, and they have greater financial independence than ever before. For first time buyers, single women are becoming the dominant market in condominium development. They have good incomes and they're good savers - many are coming in with 25% down payments. It's a real statement of independence for a woman to buy her own home.

Today's women are focusing on their careers, marrying later, and delaying childbearing, often until their 30s. With a strong economy, low interest rates and earning potential that is greater than ever, particularly in the high-tech sector, women are more financially independent than ever before. Since many women no longer have to depend on marriage for security, they are taking charge of their own finances, and that often includes buying a home.

Real estate ads now frequently feature women on their own rather than couples. Most new condominium developments have at least one show home decorated to reflect the tastes and lifestyle of the single woman. Home improvement shows, magazines and building materials manufacturers are also targeting women as purchasers and home improvers.

There are a lot more single women buyers in the last few years, mostly they're in their 30's and have never been married. They know what they want and they've done their homework. Many are first time buyers looking for affordable condominiums.

Single women have the same wants and concerns as any other buyer. They are looking for security, resale value, a desire to put down roots, and pride of ownership. But there seems to be more to the picture. For women, buying a home is more of a life statement than it is for men. It's more than just owning. It's a way of stating once and for all, I'm independent and I'm fully capable of taking care of myself. Thanks a lot Prince Charming.