Recently a press release with the title “Single women powerful new consumers of Mission condos,” caught my attention. Perhaps it was because my October Condo Living column was about four single women who loved condo living in the Beltline.
Rise of women condo buyers
While most of my observations about urban living are anecdotal, the press release by dHz Media provided data about the rising importance of women in the home buying market across North America.
For example, in the USA, the National Association of Realtors, found single women bought 18 per cent of the homes sold in 2017, while single men only seven per cent.”
The release also pointed out that “In Canada, a survey with 800 respondents by Bond Brand Loyalty revealed women accounted for 49 per cent of all home purchases. And, Point2Homes a real estate market intelligence firm, analyzed six million online searches by potential homebuyers in Canada during a three-month period in 2016 and found the majority of searches were by women.”
I did some of my own internet surfing and sure enough there is lots of information (mostly from the USA) on how single females (not just millennials) are become the largest cohort of condo buyers.
Several articles noted women often show a preference for condominiums rather than single-family homes for various reasons. Condos are not only lower maintenance (no cutting grass, no snow shoveling etc.), but they are often found near shopping, restaurants and cafes. As well, condos often have more safety features than townhomes or a single family home.
Other fun facts include that 65% of millennial women in the USA, had a steady job versus 53% for men. In Canada from 2006 to 2016, the number of women with a bachelor’s degree increased from 33% to 41%. Banks like to give mortgages to people with degrees and steady jobs.
Another article based on a 2017 US survey on “adulting” found millennial women are more likely to become independent than men based on the fact 79% of millennial women have moved out of their parents’ house, but only 56% of men.
The urban dictionary defines "adulting" as "when a young person takes on the responsibilities typically associated with being an adult - a permanent job, a mortgage, rent or a car payment.”
Back to Calgary
For Calgary developer Harold Sicherman, who has over 20 years of experience building condos in Mission, the rise of women home buyers is not a surprise.
He experienced it first hand when 65% of the condos in his District condo (completed in 2015) were sold to single women 20 to 35 years of age. Sicherman has noticed increasingly “women are more confident buyers and they’re seeking condo-style homes in locations where they can walk to lots of amenities.” This is exactly what I was told by my four female, key informants.
As a result, his marketing emphases things like walk score, access to restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as a amenities for pets. I was surprised to find in my search single women spend three times as much on pets as men.
He adds, “His latest project Matrix in Mission has all of the above amenities, as well as luxury bathroom and kitchen finishings and lots of storage, all meant to attract the woman buyer.” I heard that some of the units might even come with a dog house!
Indeed, home buying has changed significantly over the years. My mom often tells the story of how my Dad bought their house in 1954, without even consulting her. She lived in the house for over 50 years and it was only after he passed away and she sold the house that she confessed “she never liked the house.”
More than ever women are influencing the design of cities, which reminded of a David Feehan’s guest blog back in 2014. Link: Design Downtown for women and men will follow.
Note: An edited version of this blog was published in the January 2019 edition of Condo Living Magazine.
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