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Women: the Hidden Rental Market

HI3-28-13A number of shifts in the US economic landscape over the past few years has created a surging market for rental housing, driving up both demand and rents in many areas around the country. Industry experts cite factors such as the housing collapse of 2008 along with shaky financial conditions as the primary forces behind the upswing in rentals, but recent data suggests that it’s women who are driving demand for rental housing now.

According to a February 2013 article by CNBC’s Diana Olick, single women in all age brackets are increasingly choosing rental housing for the long term. In past years, renting was seen as a temporary fix, just until a suitable house could be found and purchased. Some lenders and women’s groups even created support and incentive programs to help more women buy houses on their own.

But increasingly, interest in single-family homes is declining among single women across the board, for a variety of reasons. Despite gains in women’s earning power, in the aftermath of divorce or widowhood many women don’t have the financial stability or borrowing power to qualify for home loans. And even if they do, many more opt for the flexibility and convenience of a multiples or urban rental dwellings.

More women are attending college and graduating than men, and these millennial women are planning for careers that may require numerous moves. Thee women often delay starting families – a time when interest rises in the traditional single family home. Midlife professional women, too, are opting to rent on a more or less permanent basis for the convenience and low maintenance offered by apartments, multiplexes and very small houses.

Single mothers may also rent, choosing multiplex housing or small single-family homes because of financial constraints. Some may not have the financial stability to qualify for a mortgage; others may not want the ongoing upkeep of a house. These women may prefer rentals in stable communities near schools and other amenities.

Women of retirement age and beyond round out the profile of today’s women renters. These women may have owned a home with a partner, but left single through divorce or widowhood, they may not be interested in maintaining a large single family home on their own. Rentals allow the freedom to travel or pursue new careers in other cities, while offering some sense of community. .

Whether by necessity or choice, women make up a significant percentage of today’s tenant pool. Of those, many have no intention of buying a home. For heroic income property investors using Jason Hartman’s investing guidelines, finding ways to reach this hidden pool of potential tenants opens the doors to new opportunities for long-term cash flow. (Top Image: Flickr/JodieWomack)


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