Sharp increase in single women buying homes

Single women are buying homes in South Africa at a greater rate than ever before — according to bond originator ooba, statistics show that the past four years have seen significant growth in this market.

As women gain better positions in the workplace, and as single-person households appear to be on the rise, this isn’t perhaps as surprising as it might seem.

The ratio of women to men in single-person home loan applications viewed by ooba has increased from 36,53% in January 2007 to a current level of 46,94%. In total, single person applications make up 49,65% of applications — which suggests an interesting social dynamic at play.

It’s good news for the property market, of course, and it means that the historically male-dominated property market has evolved, says Jenny Rushin, ooba’s Western Cape provincial sales manager.

“A steady increase in the number of women in the workplace, particularly those occupying more managerial top level jobs which command higher income earnings, has helped to shift the balance towards a more equal ratio among home buyers,” Rushin says.

Women are increasingly aware of the need to create their own wealth portfolios and purchasing property is a good long-term wealth creation strategy.

Rushin has the following advice for women who want to enter the property market.

First, make sure you have a sufficient deposit to put down. “Besides improving your chances of getting a home loan approved, a deposit will result in a more favourable bond rate, which will save you in interest over the term of the loan. As a home loan is paid back over a long period, generally between 20 and 25 years, even a small reduction in the interest rate on your bond, can save you thousands in interest payments over time,” she says.

She also says that a positive credit profile and stable employment history will assist you when you apply for home-loan finance. As banks have become more strict with lending, it’s important that you present evidence of a consistent income stream. Banks will also want to see how you’ve managed your transactional and credit accounts.

“When looking for a new home it is strongly advisable that you are pre-qualified, as this will give you a good sense as to the value of the property that you will be able to purchase,” says Rushin. “The pre-qualification process can also pick up credit issues on your record that would need to be fixed before you can formally apply to a bank. This process not only streamlines the home buying process, but also ensures that the buyer is able to negotiate from a position of strength.”

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