It’s no secret that single women are flocking to buy real estate in droves. But, in an area traditionally dominated by male homebuyers and families, what does it take for single women to say Yes! to the address?
Far beyond traditional stereotypes that paint women as interested only in “pretty” furnishings or hardware, women and the dollars they’re spending have forced developers to be more conscious of their needs; and in the process, are reshaping our neighbourhoods and communities.
Even more surprising than the fact that single women now dominate the real estate market, is how many single women in their 20s are buying property. As developers and real estate agents all over the country are quickly learning, this group has some very specific criteria about what is important in a home–principal among them being adequate security measures. Safety is one of the chief concerns for women and has the greatest impact on whether or not they will buy a home. For example, women will often pass on ground floor units that are typically more vulnerable to theft and break-ins. Lighting is also a major concern; not in a design capacity, but as a safety measure. Women tend to pay more attention to whether a building has well-lit grounds, as well as underground parking.
Security for women extends to location as well, and is just as important to female buyers as their home itself. Walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods that are well-tended and have easy access for residents is top of the list for the female segment. Women want a community, not just a neighbourhood–somewhere they can feel safe, comfortable, and, for single mothers, where their children have a favourable growing environment.
Another must for women in general is detail. On average, they pay more attention than men to design-related details like finishes, materials, and warm lighting. Irene Fraser, a designer with Design Happens in Coquitlam, BC, recently said in a friend’s blog that [she] “Specified finishes for one builder on five homes and convinced him to use better quality lighting…and his houses sold before anyone else.”
Space for entertaining, which includes open concept or combined kitchens, as well as adequate storage (extending beyond the bedroom or closet), and perhaps above all, terrific bathrooms. While men often view the bathroom as one of the least important rooms of the house, women are the complete opposite. Soaker tubs, heated floors, adequate space for personal grooming supplies, and, a view (if possible), all contribute to a feeling of personal luxury so important to women.
As single women continue to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in real estate, the design of our homes (and cities) will increasingly favour what is important to them. Expanding choices in building materials, a heightened awareness of safety concerns, and urban planning that seeks to incorporate more places of social interaction are now at the forefront of many minds. With so many more choices than in the past, larger numbers of women than ever are saying Yes to the Address.