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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 16:29 GMT
Women 'home alone'
Young people
Women are happier to strike out alone
Single women have become a major force in the property market, according to new research from mortgage advisory firm Charcol.

Women simply don't need to rely on men to get on the ladder anymore

Ray Boulger Charcol technical director

In fact, women are happier striking out on their own and taking the property purchase plunge than single men.

A gradual closing of the pay gap between men and women is cited as the reason for the growth in 'singleton' female house buyers.

Closing the gap

In total, there has been a 52% increase in single female homebuyers since 1992.

Single females are now snapping up one in seven properties, and account for 17% of all new mortgage lending.

And women are more likely than men to want to buy on their own.

Eighty-five percent of women quizzed said they would buy on their own, while compared with just 78% of men.

More women than men agreed that they valued their independence - 78% compared to 56%.

Charcol technical director, Ray Boulger, said:

"Women simply don't need to rely on men to get on the ladder anymore - they are securing more jobs and being better paid than ever before, and have already overtaken men in higher education."

In 2000, the average full-time female employee earned 82% of the salary of her male counterpart, up from just 74% in 1986.

Your comments:

I bought my own house last year. I had previously lived with other people in rented accommodation. What do I like about living on my own? Freedom. I can come and go as I please. I can do the things I want to do. It's not that I couldn't do them when I shared, but it does make it easier. I've been one of the lucky ones, I managed to buy before house prices rocketed. At least I know the place is mine and I feel that gives me a bit of security. A lot of my female friends have done the same and love it, but strangely enough the few males friends I have that have bought on their own don't like it.
Nicki, UK

I bought a place on my own last year. It gives you personal security and it's nice to have an investment when you're working hard. I've now bought a house with my boyfriend as well, so I have let the flat out. Letting hasn't been easy but I think it's worth it in the long run.
Lex, York, England

Girls have more money as they expect their men to pay whenever they go out for the night.
Lee, Hong Kong/UK

The majority of single females would live on their own if property wasn't so expensive - without the good fortune of having a large sum of money available as a deposit (from parents or a cash windfall), buying a property without a partner is becoming more and more impossible. As the single population of this country increases, the housing market needs to evolve to cope with this new kind of demand.
Fiona, UK

I nearly ended up homeless when my marriage broke up a few years ago. I will never marry or live with someone again, you may as well just meet someone you don't like and buy them a house. I recently bought a house again, for me, and I regard my independence as my security.
Ian , England

I brought my first property 15 years ago, a flat, when I was nineteen. For a while I had a property with a boyfriend but I now have my own house. I like my own space and time & freedom to do as I wish.
Sanchia, UK

Many more of my female friends have bought than my male ones. They also tend to have more pensions and ISAs and the like, and tend to be more financially savvy.
Wendy, UK

I think guys tend to fell obliged to buy with/for their partner to give her security. Females historically have not had to feel this need. The mindsets are changing though.
Marcus, NZ/UK

I bought my house when I was 24, just before the property market went insane, and I always regarded it as the best move I ever made. I had a good job, and needed to move out of my parent's house so it made sense. The freedom, and the security are the biggest benefits. Now things have changed. I lost my job twice this year, have had to take on a lodger, and am considering selling my property. However, my property is my saviour, as I can now use it to raise some cash, but I would not consider house-sharing again (apart from with a partner). The infringement on my private space was too much.! My female friends are increasingly getting on to the property ladder, but most of my male friends are loathe to do so.

The day after I bought my house I realised how lucky I was. If this had been a few decades earlier, I would have needed my husband's signature. But guess what? I don't have a husband!
Debbie , UK

I bought my own flat several years ago but I found it lonely and expensive. Now I rent out the flat and live in house shares in other parts of the UK. The advantages of being able to move at a month's notice to take jobs and share all the bills far outweighs the disadvantages of not being able to change the wallpaper or having to wait to go in the bathroom sometimes.
Andrew Bluemel, Manchester UK

I think it is extremely important for a woman to maintain her financial independence. It is appalling to think that a relationship breakdown could leave a woman (and possibly children) homeless and in penury further down the line. I am happy to see that more women are realising the need to provide for themselves and taking steps to ensure their financial security early in their lives.
Sophie , UK

Lee, I think women who buy their own houses are really not going to be expecting, or even wanting their partners to pay when they go out. It's all part of being independent.
Maria , UK

I bought my own house last March and my friend bought her own house at the same time just round the corner from mine. I have to say it is so much better than living with a man.
Katrina, England

It's no wonder to me that single women are buying more homes. Now that we have more independence and money we are looking for our own security. After all women are natural home-makers anyway so it makes sense that we're more keen than men. Women are also not happy to live with our parents for evermore, but men prefer to have someone to look after them.
Teresa, UK

I bought my first property in 1997 just before prices began rising. I then moved again 2.5 years ago. I lived with my partner for of these 4 years before he left (he has his own property). I'm so glad I don't have to share and I can do whatever I like but I don't like being alone and feel it is a shame that men and women feel they don't need each other - we do! I have done very well and owe a lot to my ex and my Dad for helping me with my house.
Stephanie, UK

I bought my one bedroom flat three years ago and it was probably the best thing I did. Fair enough, I suppose it is a bit of a struggle with doing all the repairs on a single salary, but at least I have more appreciation for what I have. If I had decided to wait until I was in a serious, stable relationship before I brought a flat, I would have missed out and probably be renting now or sharing with a friend because I wouldn't be able to afford it.
Esther, UK

If you have a substantial amount of equity then why risk it on a relationship that might fail?
Alex, UK

Well, when your husband decides to dump you after 15 years, what else can you do? Rot in a filthy rented bed sit, or try your hardest to get a foot on the property ladder? I am choosing the latter. As a newly-separated woman in my thirties I now have to consider my own future security.
Jo, UK

I bought my own house last year - for me and my boyfriend. We could have borrowed more if we'd taken his income into account but our financial arrangements meant we decided to do it in my name alone.
Suze, Surrey, England

I would love to buy a house but can't because of the stupid prices in the South East. I don't think it has anything to do with gender, it has to do with other commitments that people have.
Vish, UK

Ian mate, I understand your thoughts as the same thing nearly happened to me - only difference is I couldn't entirely move on as the CSA have dug their claws in - I don't mind paying something but 1/3rd of your salary? Have a heart, live for yourself and for today. It's about time that this gender issue was removed anyway, what's all the fuss? We're all human beings and should have a responsibility to act like adults not babies.
Giz, England

It is a stark reality that without a partner it is virtually impossible to get on the first rung of the property ladder. I live in Cambridge, which is a hugely expensive place to live, but a great town and I would love to make my home here but unfortunately I'm not made of money and although I earn a decent wage there is no way I could afford to buy a house alone.
Andrea, UK

I first bought a property at 18. It was a terrible move, I didn't understand what I was doing and I was dragged in to it. It was the end of the '80s and lenders were falling over themselves to get people up to their eyeballs in debt. Naively I took an interest only mortgage which I paid into for eight years through some periods of extremely high and crippling interest rates. When I sold the property it went for less than I had paid for it and I had made no inroads into paying the lump sum of the mortgage. I was mortified. It must have cost me over £20,000.00. However, on the upside, it taught me financial discipline and confidence and, despite the rocky start, I now own my own house (albeit with a lodger helping out with my mortgage having been made redundant). I have over £200,000.00 of equity in my property and that is a good feeling. Although sometimes I resent the constant worry of how to make my repayments, I know that in the long run it has been a good move. I also love the total financial independence.
Isabel , London, UK

I am a young single man, who lives in rented accommodation in the North East. I enjoy living in rented accommodation; I have no long-term commitment to stay here and do not have the hassle of repair and maintenance. Furthermore, the rent is exceedingly cheap. It is precisely because of the independence, flexibility and freedom offered my rented housing that I have not bought a house.
Scott, UK

I am an 'independent man' who bought a house by myself a year ago. No more nightmare flatmates for me.
Colin, UK

I was left in the marital home after an 18 year marriage break-up but had to sell. With my share of the equity, I'm proud to say, I've managed to buy a mobile home (all I could afford in the SE) & will be moving in before Christmas. I'm over the moon! Independence & freedom after so many miserable years. Hooray for me!
Sue Collins, England

I bought my own home nearly two years ago, when I was 24. It's been a huge financial struggle, but I don't regret it. I really don't see what the "big deal" is with women buying alone. So what? Some people buy alone. Some people buy as couples. Buying a home doesn't have to be an exclusive 'couple activity'! Unmarried people need a roof over their heads too!
L Porter, London, UK

Independence is great and even though emotional independence is free, financial independence is much harder to come by.
Jessica, UK

In 1981 when I was 31 I returned to the UK after working for 4 years overseas. I then realised I could not go back to living with my parents after living in a flat by myself, and I thought the best way to invest my hard-earned money was to buy a house. My parents and all my friends could not understand why a single female of 31 wanted to live by herself, as in 1981 it was not the "done thing" for a female to live by herself. It was the best thing I ever did as it. I am married now and live in a different house, but the sale of my first property enabled me to put down a substantial deposit on our current property.
Krys, UK

Having been married and divorced I find living in a house of my own sheer bliss. No moaning about work that needs doing around the house, toilet seat up or down as you please, shaving foam on the mirror, toothpaste squeezed from the middle, washing up that gets done when it needs to be, finding things where you last left them, impromptu visits, the local, peace, tranquillity, what more could a man ask for?
Mick, UK

I think that most women would go it alone if they felt they had the choice. I spent many years trying to find something that I could afford in one of the most expensive areas in the country. Finally, somewhat ironically, it was redundancy that enabled me to buy a house as the package paid for my deposit and fees. I would never have considered buying with my boyfriend, even though I would have been able to buy sooner. As it is, he pays me rent and that's the way it will stay until he leaves me or marries me.
Catherine, UK

Is this really a new thing? I bought my own flat at age 22 (with no help from parents)over 20 years ago! Or am I just ahead of the times!
Gill, UK

The age group of first time house buying women, I would estimate, is 20-30 years old (I am one my self, having bought my first property in July this year). I whole heartily agree with all the statements about convenience independence etc. it should be remembered, this age group are a generation of women who have grown up with our parents/friends parents splitting up. In my case my mother, at 50, was left with literally nothing. Why did I buy on my own? Because the only person I can rely on is my self ż imagine loosing your home because of someone else. Cynical or realistic?
Abigail, UK

Freedom has no match! I'm 27 years old Indian woman, came to UK 1.5 years back. After being harassed and tortured by my ex I got separated and got my mortgage some one year back and ever since then I stay alone. Even in future, if Iżm in a new relationship I'd never ever ever go for a combined mortgage...NEVER! It's so really nice to have your own place, do whatever you freedom, no hassles, no headaches. Once you give in, people just take you for granted and being independent financially really matters!
Indian woman in UK,

If I could afford it and could find the right property, I would jump on the property straight away! But at the moment, with property prices as high as they are and my salary being as low as it is that just isn't possible!
Jason, UK





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04 Oct 02 | Business
05 Dec 01 | Business
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