If your mother came of age in the late 1950s or early 1960s it was the societal norm to marry around the age of 18-21. You moved from your parent’s house to your marital home. For our mothers (or us!) that came of age a generation later, in the 1970s or 80s, we still tended to hold off home ownership until we were married as that was considered the societal norm, or at least the path most likely followed by your parents.
Fast forward a few decades as financial equity laws take hold (such as the The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974), women’s college graduation rates excel, technology offers a window to new ’norms’ – and younger and/or single women are further redefining homeownership.
A Bank of America study found that nearly two-thirds of single female prospective homeowners said they would rather not wait until marriage to buy a home. In fact, single women prioritize owning a home more than their single male counterparts – 73% versus 65%. Furthermore, 30% of current female homeowners purchased their homes while they were single.
“When you look at the data, there are a couple of corresponding elements that really play into what motivates women to become homeowners … independence is a big one, so is empowerment,” Kathy Cummings, senior vice president for Homeownership Solutions and Affordable Housing Programs at Bank of America noted with an interview on MSNBC.
Of the 73% of women say that owning a home is a top priority for them. This number actually outpaces getting married (41%) or having children (31%), according to the same BofA survey.
What does all this mean? Overall, it’s really a leveling of norms. The old mindset that you have to be married to own a home is really just a myth. Lenders, mortgage brokers and realtors take women seriously as clients on their own. And that makes for a very happy Valentine’s Day (and additional 364 days of happiness) regardless of your relationship status.
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