Living Single: Buy or Rent?

BlogHer Original Post

Single women are buying homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2005 21% of buyers were single women versus just 9% for single men.

Jane Dough at Boston Gal's Open Wallet has two posts looking at the home-buying-and-the-single-gal phenomenon. Read the first post and be sure to read the second post which has a link to a fascinating New York Times article that examines some reasons why this disparity between men and women has developed - it's really an interesting read.

Colin R. Johnson, an assistant professor of gender studies at Indiana University at Bloomington, said there is no way to sociologically nail down an answer as to why single men are less interested in owning homes. But, he said, there is "a very long history of women thinking about space" and "the privilege of what access to space means."

Men have always been free to move through public space without fear; women have not. For example the "take back the night" marches that began in the United States in the late 1970's were about women asserting their desire to gain access to the space that men have, Dr. Johnson said. "Men feel the world is theirs to be had," he said, so they may not need to create their own safe haven.

Conversely, single women may feel that to lay claim to part of the world, they have to buy in. ...

Of course, the most radical gender stereotyping occurs in fairy tales, where women are rescued by knights in shining armor and whisked off to roomy castles. Little boys know they have the role of the knight locked up. Rather than accepting the role as damsel in distress, girls are increasingly growing up to be concerned about establishing their financial security.

Mapgirl casts a vote for buying and shares the positive effects provided by buying her home.

everyone agrees that having a place of my own has grounded me, settled me down and so many things in my life reflect that, the condo, my new job, my personal relationships

On the other side of the equation, renting makes more sense for some women. At Young and Broke, Y&B explains why Renting Rules.

Dawn at Frugal for Life also extols the joys of renting.

Call it wanderlust or the desire to be able to pickup and go if the mood hits, but the thought of being tied down to a home and upkeep isn't very appealing to me.

Of course the best news of all is that buy or rent, women can make the best choice for themselves - no fairy tales required.

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