Olivia Outlaw is a Millennial. She is single, and she is weeks away from becoming a homeowner.
The Ozark native, now residing in Tuscaloosa, is among a growing demographic of homebuyers in the United States. The number of single women buying homes outpaced that of their male counterparts by 10 percent, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.
“Go for it,” Outlaw said in a recent interview with the Alabama Center for Real Estate, when asked to give her best advice to single women pursuing the idea of purchasing a home. “I looked at doing this about three years ago when I was younger, but it wasn’t the right fit at the time. Looking back now, it would be nice if I hadn’t lost the thousands of dollars I did by renting the last few years.”
Outlaw, 26, is just one of the women today who are choosing to leave the rental world behind and making progressive steps towards investing in real estate.
A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that single women make up 17 percent of homebuyers, compared to 7 percent of single males.
Despite continuing issues with the gender pay gap across the country, the research stands true whether a woman is working in occupations predominantly performed by women, predominantly perfumed by males or in an occupation with a near even mix of male and females, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
In an article by Mary Pilon for Bloomberg, Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director, said that the housing gender gap is widening for a variety of reasons, one of which being the desire for single mothers to provide their family with housing stability.
“If you have any children, it’s definitely going to play a role in where you’re thinking of living and how,” Lautz told Bloomberg. “And a mortgage can provide financial security. I think women, even with lower incomes, want a place where they can have roots and really own a place,” Lautz said.
With renting comes the commitment of paying 100 percent interest and receiving no return on investment, a price Outlaw, and many women across the country, no longer feel satisfied with paying. After learning that her job would have her settled in the city of Tuscaloosa for a while, Outlaw decided it was time to invest in a home in the surrounding area.
“Homeownership is important to me from a financial standpoint,” Outlaw stated. “Any improvements I make to my house, I can now get back.”
As more and more women continue to purchase homes, they tend to purchase a lower average price than men at $173,000 compared to $190,600, and at an older age of 34 years old compared to 31, according to NAR’s findings.