Opportunities Abound for Businesses Targeting Women Buying Homes
Most Americans would rather pay a mortgage than pay rent—that’s one of the findings in the Fall Homebuyer Insights Report from Bank of America. Owning a home makes people happy—in fact, 93% of people say they’re happier because they purchased a home. Most (83%) of the homeowners attribute their joy to an improved lifestyle and the variety of hobbies that come with owning a home. And that’s where the opportunity for small businesses comes in—75% of homeowners started pursuing new hobbies, including:
- Interior design/remodeling—33%
Buying a home is like having a baby—it starts a constant cycle of buying “stuff”. So, whether you sell home décor, kitchen or gardening supplies, or homes themselves, or are in the home services business (plumbers, roofers, contractors, etc.), you need to know who today’s homeowners are and what they want.
According to House Beautiful, one of the fastest-growing groups of homeowners today are single women. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says single women comprised 17% of home buyers last year, while single men bought 9% of homes—and that’s despite the fact women, on average, earn less money than men do.
Bank of America’s 2018 Homebuyer Insight Report showing that 73% of women value home ownership more than getting married (41%) and having children (31%) was one of the inspirations for House Beautiful and Marie Claire magazines to study the trend.
Who needs Prince Charming?
When trying to define the market, age matters—but not as much as you might think. While NAR stats show the median age of single women home buyers is 54, the House Beautiful survey showed 34% of the women purchased their first home when they were between 18-29 and 40% were between 30-39.
Part of the reality of U.S. demographic behavior today is millennials are getting married later in their lives. And they’re not waiting for Prince Charming to come along before they make major life decisions concerning love, marriage and children.
Being a single mother also factors into the homebuying decision. Jessica Lautz, vice president, Demographics and Behavioral Insights for the National Association of Realtors, told House Beautiful that “the act of caregiving [is] a significant factor for single women buying homes, whether they’re caring for children or aging parents.
According to the NAR, the average price of a woman’s first home is $166,370 (compared to men who pay an average $180,570).
The women House Beautiful talked to purchased their homes for varied reasons, including:
- “I’m making enough to afford a mortgage on my own”—31%
- The market was favorable—29%
- “Real estate is always a good investment”—26%
- Buying after a breakup or divorce—15%
The women aren’t tackling home ownership worry-free. According to House Beautiful, they’re concerned about being able to afford the mortgage alone (30%) and taking on the responsibilities of repairs/renovations alone (24%).
One of the women the magazine talked to advised other women, “You have to do your research, have your finances together” and be aware of hidden costs. These needs show there are also ample opportunities for accountants, realtors and financial advisors to target and serve this market.
If you’re already in or thinking about starting a business in one of the industries that serve the home market, you need to be aware of the latest trends.
- Wood cabinets amid painted cabinets
- Shower ledges instead of niches
- Dining rooms with personality
- Bathroom seating (not the toilet)
- Tiled bathtub aprons
- Softly colored kitchens
- Double floating vanities
- Colorful laundry rooms
- Fully wrapped powder rooms
- Painted interior front doors
White kitchens are the choice of more than 40% of renovating homeowners (not gender-specific).
The National Association of Home Builders says the most in-demand remodeling projects are (in order):
- Floors & ceilings
- Small kitchen appliances
- Windows & doors
- Water heater
- Air conditioning
- Minor bathroom fixes
- Electrical work
And one of the hottest home trends today is plants. In fact, the National Gardening Association says houseplant sales rose 50% in the last three years to $1.7 billion, driven by millennials, who are plant-obsessed. These consumers are increasingly turning to gardening websites to learn more about plants and how to take care of them. Specifically, Americans ages 18-34 make up 29% of all gardening households. Overall, the average household is spending slightly more than $500 on lawn and garden supplies for a total $47.8 billion.
The future is “single”
Again, when it comes to the single market, the future looks bright for businesses serving this demographic. NAR’s Lautz told House Beautiful, “I think what we’re going to see in the future is more single people overall; females, males, unmarried couples. It doesn’t matter if you’re married; you want a place of your own.”