Single women over the age of 55 have been the fastest-growing demographic of home buyers when compared with other categories of buyers since 1981, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Married couples are the largest group of buyers, and single women the next largest group.
In 2017, single older women comprised 8.2 percent of all home buyers—double the percentage of 20 years ago, according to researcher Ralph McLaughlin, founder and chief economist at Veritas Urbis Economics in Alameda, Calif. Women also buy homes at nearly twice the rate as their male counterparts.
“Many women in this place of their lives want to own a home of their own,” Jessica Lautz, director of demographics and behavioral insight at the National Association of REALTORS®. Lautz notes that longer average lifespans as well as people working until later in life are giving older buyers the confidence to take on a 15- or 30-year mortgage after age 55.
Further, “multigenerational homes”—or places where aging parents, adult children, and children under the age of 18 can co-habitate—are in high demand among “buyers in their early 50s,” says Lautz.