PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Marching On!
Dorothy Botsoe | February 2017
I first want to thank everyone who attended the installation and made it a success. It was a terrific, fun event with a focus on inclusion, diversity, and making our organization stronger, more unified and on target for moving forward as we embrace the changing face of real estate this year.
Another change worth mentioning is what is happening across the country with women. The recent Women’s March was another historic worldwide and national milestone addressing the concerns and rights for women. Hundreds of thousands of women gathered from Westchester to Washington and in cities across the country in a unified voice around issues like reproductive rights, immigration and civil rights. The Women’s March cut across generational lines and rallied women together like never before. Many men have also joined the movement to show their support. I am sure some of you may have marched or know people who participated in what can only be called an epic show of strength.
This brings me to another key point about women and their buying power that we as Realtors have been seeing for a few years now. There is an increase in single women purchasing homes. Seventeen percent of home buyers in the U.S. last year were single women, compared to just 7% of single men, according to the National Association of Realtors.
This housing gender gap is not new, but seems to be growing and we should be aware of this continuing trend. Why are more single women purchasing? Jessica Lautz, NAR’s Managing Director of Survey Research and Communications, in a recent article said, “Single women are more likely to be parenting on their own compared to single men and, as such, may be more likely to seek stable housing for their children.” Also important to note is that in 2011, there were 8.6 million single-mother households, and only 2.6 million single-father households, according to a Pew Research Center study.
As we think of this year’s theme and focus of “inclusion,” I am hoping that we all become cognizant of these types of buyer trends and learn to market more powerfully to single women along with our more traditional clients. A home represents financial security, a place for building a stable foundation for raising children and single women, like all women, even those with lower incomes, want a place where they can establish roots and call it their own. Everyone deserves a chance at homeownership.
The wage gap, and financial challenges and differences also have a role to play here. It’s been documented that single women tend to buy their first homes at an older age than men—34 years old compared with 31, according to NAR’s research. They also tend to buy at a lower average price than men—$173,000 compared to $190,600. This again plays into the need for us to recognize our differences, male or female, single or married, and the role we play as Realtors to appreciate and embrace these differences to help all our potential clients succeed in achieving their real estate goals.
Owning a home is still one of the pillars of the American Dream. As we are also celebrating “Black History Month,” I am mindful of Zipporah Potter Atkins who was a free African American woman who owned land in Colonial Boston during a time when few women or African Americans were allowed to own land in the American Colonies. The purchase of her home, dated back to 1670, and made her the first African American woman to own land in the City of Boston and in what later was known as part of the United States. What an achievement!
We, too, have much to achieve this year and we are off to a great start! Although our membership is geographically spread out, I propose and believe that by including all our members, we will reach our common goals and improve our Realtor communities. I will be spending a few hours monthly at all of our office locations—Goshen, Nyack, and White Plains in order to be accessible to everyone. Please stop in and share your vision with me. Any problems, challenges, concerns and solutions that you wish to discuss are welcome. Keep an eye on our Association calendar for upcoming dates of meetings and town halls. Remember, change starts with all of us! Together we are one, building our unified voice. #”We are the World”