Single women accounted for 18 percent of all home purchases last year compared with just 7 percent by single men, according to survey data from the National Association of Realtors.

This makes single women the second-largest segment in the home-purchase marketplace, behind married couples.

Tired of renting

Rising rents are a hot button. In a recent tracking study conducted by research and publishing firm Builders Digital Experience, 23 percent of single women cited rising rents as a “trigger” motivation behind a home purchase, well above the 16 percent average for all recent buyers.

Pat McKee, president of McKee Homes, a builder active in four North Carolina markets, has found that in some of the company’s developments, significant percentages of the homes — upward of 50 percent in one case — were purchased by single women in their 30s, 40s and older. Many of these buyers, he said, “are tired of living in apartments and now feel confident enough to buy a new home.”

How much they’re spending

On average, single women pay slightly more for their homes than single men — $185,000 compared with $175,000 — and are more likely to have children younger than 18 in their households.

Buying a home as an investment

Single female purchasers tend to be more likely to see buying a home as an investment, according to Jessica Lautz, director of demographic and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors.

Shoshana Godwin, who is single and works as a real estate agent for brokerage company Redfin in Seattle, bought a condo close to downtown — a two-bedroom, one-bath unit that cost her $285,000 two years ago. Comparable units in her building are now selling for $500,000 in Seattle’s crazy-hot market, confirming her impression that buying instead of renting would be a good investment.

Why are single men buying less?

There appears to be less survey research available on the home-buying habits of single men.

Based on discussions he’s had, McKee says that “planting roots just doesn’t seem to have the same priority” for single men as for single women.

Godwin, who works extensively with singles of both genders, notes that in markets such as Seattle, where job transfers at high-tech companies are commonplace, single men appear to be more concerned than women about having to relocate. “They are a little more afraid” to make commitments in real estate but seem to be fine with living in a nice, well-located rental.

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