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Single Women Twice As Likely To Buy Property Than Men. The New Big M — Mortgage!

In business, Money, women on November 2, 2009 at 10:16 am
SAN RAFAEL, CA - MAY 17:  Real estate agents a...

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A woman’s life can traditionally be expressed by a series of life-changing Ms: menstruation, matriculation, marriage, motherhood, each of which carries its own mythology and rituals. There’s a much bigger M, mortgage.

For me — a divorcee without kids — having a mortgage is by far the the most momentous M of all. In the craziest of times, it’s kept me, literally, grounded, forcing me to sit still and think through all my options. If you’re lucky and careful, buying and owning your own home can provide financial and emotional security. It has for me, even with the intervening loss of several well-paid staff jobs and a high-earning husband with whom I bought the place. Today my current partner and I are applying for a new mortgage. I’m more nervous and hopeful than on my wedding day. Husbands can ( and do) come and go, but home? I hope not!

Like many women, I’m risk-averse with my money, and I hate moving, so buying a home was a good choice for me. It’s a one-bedroom  apartment with a spectacular, unimpeded view of the Hudson River that has never changed in the 20 years since I bought it with my ex-husband. He’s long gone but I’m still paying our shared mortgage; today I dropped off the pile of paperwork I hope will get me and my current partner a new mortgage, at a rate more than 2.5 percent lower than our current one.

As someone who loathes invasions of privacy, bureaucracy and fiddly detail, it’s been an eye-opening experience. Last time, I simply played ostrich and let the husband handle every single bit of it. Not smart. Not mature. The night he walked out of our apartment, and our marriage,  I didn’t even know which bank held our mortgage.

This time is different, although the essential problem of needing someone as a co-borrower remains the same — my writing income is a rollercoaster, while my sweetie has a steady full-time job. We now know each other’s FICO scores and have scrutinized the details of each other’s every asset and liability. Talk about getting naked.  Luckily, the apartment has gained in value and I never borrowed against it, even in the leanest of times. Ironically, not having been in a great position to borrow — i.e. freelance and single — kept me out of home-as-piggy-bank trouble.

Women are buying homes more than men, according to the National Association of Realtors:

“Interestingly, single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (24 and 12 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent).

Twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.

More women (15.5 million) than men (11.8 million) lived alone. Among these, women were more likely than men to own their homes (56% vs. 47%).”

If you’re female, do you own your home alone? Are you happy with that choice?

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Wood, Tweets Tube. Tweets Tube said: Single Women Twice As Likely To Buy Property Than Men. The New Big M — Mortgage! http://bit.ly/XHfeu [...]

  2. Read: single women twice as likely to be swindled by a realtor into making the catastrophic decision of purchasing realty when the entire blogosphere is lit up with reports of the coming wave of foreclosures as the 5 year ARMs made during the bubble start resetting, driving home values even further down.

    This is awful. “Like most women, I’m risk averse with my money and don’t like moving?” Has she ever *met* a woman? I think she’s really a being from a different planet. Only that way could someone be so disconnected from reality.

    Articles like this get me thinking that even *I* could be a writer. Just take your narrow, uninformed view on life and vomit it onto a word processor and send it in to your editor who is too busy looking for a job with a real publication to read your drivel.

  3. Hmmm….do I smell singed fingers here?

    I’ll sidestep the gratuitous nastiness and raise a simple question: why are you so persuaded that (all?) women are getting swindled? Because women are de facto stupid? Because they have no idea what a 5-year ARM was or is? Anyone who reads the financial pages or watches, reads or listens to fiscal populists like Suze Orman knows otherwise.

    You can only be swindled if you’re asleep at the wheel and, while there were plenty of mortgages sold to people — male and female — who had 1) crap credit and no right to enormous loans 2) had insufficient financial literacy to understand the serious commitment they were making — there are many women out there, still, with the intelligence and good judgment to know if or when assuming a mortgage or re-finance is wise or imprudent.

    What sexist hogwash to assume all women are too gullible to handle a mortgage. What bitterness are you carrying to assume every realtor and bank is out only to steal your money and impoverish you for amusement?

    Caveat emptor is a fairly standard MO in any economy, regardless of your gender.

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