The Biggest Growing Demographic in Canada.

When I was in my 20s, I bought my first home. I was officially done with my rental situation: I was living in an old beaten down house that I suddenly shared with a family of mice after the lower tenant, a hoarder, was kicked out and released them, as well as a landlord who would let himself into my apartment to use my bathroom as he pleased during the lower unit renovations! I decided to forget about giving my money to an unpleasant landlord and, after years of travel, finally decided I could try planting some roots. Real Estate roots.

I bought a cute, easy to maintain condo in North St. Catharines, Ontario, with a balcony overlooking a middle courtyard (and on occasion my neighbours barbequing right in my sightline – a clear improvement from the hoarder views). I purchased it by myself, with my own income, as a single woman. My significant other encouraged me in this big step, while my parents voiced their concerns knowing their youngest had been such a wanderluster. But over a decade down the road, I’m a homeowner (now in a new home with my partner) with years of equity under my belt watching our investments explode with appreciation. The saying is true. Don’t wait to buy Real Estate; buy Real Estate and wait.

In my current life as a Realtor, I’ve definitely noticed this scenario playing out again and again with more new single female clients. Even though we are light years beyond the heyday of the nuclear family, it might be a surprise to some that this demographic is as pervasive as it is. In early 2020 I sat in a seminar where we were told that single women in their 20s would be THE largest demographic of home buyers in Canada this year. And this year the most common demographic of buyers I’ve worked with has been single female clients. I have to say, it is one of my favourite demographics to work with as a Realtor! I’m going to make some pretty wild generalizations here – but they are commonalities I’ve found based on my experiences working one-on-one with women looking for a home for themselves over the past years. Here’s a few reasons why, IMO, single female homebuyers are doing things right, and are such FANTASTIC people to work with in Real Estate:

They know what they want:

I’ve had many women approach me at the beginning of the home search telling me that everyone around them has offered opinions, mainly a lot of unsolicited opinions. This is a reality if you’re doing anything in real estate: everyone has something to say. At the point we start looking at homes, they’ve taken in enough of this that they recognize the need to move away from the ‘noise’ and focus in on their own interests in what to look for in a home and how to do it. While they acknowledge that those around them including family and friends have some valuable experiences and information to offer, they also know they need to make this decision ultimately for themselves, by themselves. It can be intimidating, but ‘going it alone’ is something most single women I’ve worked with have already grown comfortable with – and bring this grit into finding their own home. They see it, they want it.

They trust their instincts – and their hired professionals:

Some have had experience with homes before and know precisely what they’re looking for and hone in on it, and others take in the advice and information of those working with them (inspectors, lawyers, me) with an open mind and genuine interest – but all of them have put a great deal of trust and respect into their interactions with their hired professionals. The communication lines I’ve had with these women has not only been enjoyable, it’s led to better transactions because we talk every aspect through and they know how to trust their instincts.

They’re forward thinking:

I’ve met and worked with these successful, motivated women who’ve decided to buy into an investment – either for their own first home, or with a larger future investment strategy in mind. They want to start gaining equity and put their hard-earned money into a solid and tangible asset, now, before they see markets take off and knock them out of the running. The kinds of homes we’ve looked for have often been multifunctional: incorporating an income-producing secondary unit; or a home in need of cosmetic upgrades that would immediately increase its value; or a location primed for revitalization. Smart planning to support a lifestyle while securing an expansive future lifestyle. Smart enough to make these millions…then get back to business.

They don’t muck around:

These women have been decisive and brave in the home search too – we’ve had to take on some pretty fast moving & high pressure market environments, and they haven’t blinked. Rational and measured, they’re savvy with their budgeting and, when an offer doesn’t work out, they shake it off and move on to the next one with the same intensity of purpose as they did the one that wasn’t meant to be. The highs and lows of the process they take on with a Beyonce-like cool.  

Altogether, it’s been a seamless and really enjoyable experience watching my single female clients jump into their first solo purchase, and something that I can very well see being the norm for many women in this age. For single, independent people of all identities thinking about buying their first home, even in a busy market I’ve seen it play out, and it’s more possible than you may think. Incorporating the mindset outlined above into your search is a recipe for success. I could break it down in just a few steps:

1. Deciding to do it on your own is the first step. Really decide, and go for it.

2. Conceptualizing the future lifestyle and value you’d like to get out of the home.

3. Getting a Realtor and other professionals with specialized knowledge you trust to advise you through the process.

4. Going into each viewing and offer with determination and balancing it with a rational mind.

Single female homebuyers may be the largest growing demographic but the above steps I’ve seen them taking goes for everyone, and leads inevitably to great results. And now that COVID has come in and changed our year and our lives, single female homebuyers are part of a demographic that’s even changing the traditional cycles of our Real Estate “seasons”. Just in August, Postmedia articles stated that single women and single men buying homes as friends is the fastest growing demographic, and that it’s changing the usual trends in Real Estate seasons with events like the school year not coming into play; couple that with COVID and lockdown periods: “The traditional cycles have been all thrown out the window in 2020 and it’s been reflected in the housing market.”*

So, single ladies, you know what I’m going to say: Put your hands up! If you think it might be time to lock down your first home, to start putting your money into something you can look at a decade down the road and see explode with growth (and maybe grow yourself a little in the process) – let’s do this. And if you like it, you can put a ring on it. You have my word, no more Beyonce references (unless warranted).

*Myke Thomas, Postmedia

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