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Single Women Emerging as a Potent Market Force

In discussions of Canada’s housing market, first-time millennial home buyers and enterprising foreign real estate investors often take centre stage, but the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) is placing the spotlight on the emergent demographic of single women. Approximately 25 per cent of home buyers in Canada are female, who are either buying right now or planning to buy within a few years. According to observers, the condo market is experiencing the greatest impact of this potentially game-changing market force. “Logistically it just doesn’t make sense to buy a house on a corner lot where you have to shovel the driveway plus the sidewalks within 24 hours,” Waterloo-based sales representative Suzanne Ethier told The Globe and Mail. Realtors pointed at the “pink mortgage” sector as one of the fastest growing buyer groups today, fuelled largely by better income and lower interest rates. Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. (Johnston & Daniel Division) senior vice president Dianne Usher said that women—whether they are single and moving up or recently divorced and looking for a new home—are more careful with their purchases compared to other buyers. “Men will say, ‘Oh yeah, I just need some space so I can party with my buddies.’ But women say, ‘I need this to be a good investment and a good growth opportunity,’” Usher explained. The promise of good returns later down the line is what attracted tech firm marketing director Sonia Varkey to put her money in the real estate market. “I’m a single woman working in jobs where there is no pension. I need to take care of myself later on. Even though everybody keeps talking about a bubble coming, it never does. I can’t just wait for it to supposedly burst,” according to Varkey, who currently owns two properties—one for her own use, one for rental—and is contemplating buying another in Toronto.

Sources: Mortgage Broker News, Ephraim Vecina, May 9, 2016