What Women Want (in a Home)

Lesley Deutch photo
Ken Perlman Headshot

Lesley Deutch

Ken Perlman

March 12, 2021

We honor Women’s History Month this week by highlighting some of the important demographic shifts that impact the housing industry. While the pandemic may have temporarily slowed some of these shifts, we believe many are long term and, if properly addressed, will provide builders and developers with a competitive advantage in the future.

Women’s share of total employment is growing.

 In early 2020, women surpassed 50% of US payroll employment for only the second time in history—the first was in the wake of the Great Financial Crisis. While the early months of the pandemic resulted in a sharp drop in employment for women, early indicators are pointing to growth again. More women in the workforce means:

  • Rising income for women, which translates into financial independence and increased discretionary spending. A recent Redfin study noted single women purchased 9% more homes in the fourth quarter of 2020 than a year ago, compared to a 4.5% uptick for single men.
  • Dual work-from-home spaces in the home will become even more important post-pandemic. We highlighted in The Light that we expect 9 million more people to work from home post-pandemic at least 10 hours a week—many will be women!

58% of college degrees now go to women.

This is a complete reversal from the 1970s when 58% of college degrees went to men. Implications for housing include:

  • Location, location, location! Many women are choosing to live in the strongest school districts or close to private schools to give their children every opportunity for success.
  • Delayed milestones. Younger, highly educated women are marrying later and having children later—the median age for marriage is now 27.2 vs. 22.8 in the 1950s.

Going at it alone.

Women are opting to parent alone more often. Approximately 18% of all newborns go home from the hospital to a single-parent household and 40% of all births are to single women. To compare, in 1960, only 5% of births were to single women. This trend has several implications for housing demand:

  • High demand for products and services that save time, such as low maintenance apartments or single-family rentals.
  • Safety and security are of paramount importance in a community, especially lighted walkways and high-tech door locks.
  • Location is even more important, as women may trade home space to be closer to children’s schools, work, and conveniences.

We would like to highlight the great women we have working at John Burns Real Estate Consulting—45% of our employees. They are some of the best and brightest in the business and represent a wide range of disciplines including accounting, business development, editing, marketing, data science, research, building products, consumer research, consulting, and human resources. They allow our company to live up to our purpose of “solving today to help you navigate tomorrow.”

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About The Author

Lesley Deutch photo
Lesley Deutch
Managing Principal
Lesley has more than 25 years of experience consulting with executives in the finance and real estate industries throughout North America. She works across a wide spectrum of industries including apartments, for-sale housing, high-rise development, urban projects, single-family rental, building products, and commercial developments.
Ken Perlman Headshot
Ken Perlman
Managing Principal
Ken works with real estate executives to help them make appropriate strategic decisions regarding their residential communities, including for-sale and rental of all types. He has a particular specialty in large-scale master-planned communities.

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