Southern California realtors eye single female homebuyers

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At a gathering of local real estate agents, Long Beach broker Sonia Moncayo said she loves selling to single women, as one herself. But more than that, it’s just good business. 

"They have money, they have savings, and they are happy with their own home," Moncayo said.

Single women are the largest group of homebuyers after married couples, making up 15 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. And that’s got the industry increasingly interested in promoting female homeownership.

Moncayo, president-elect of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, said she plans to shift more attention to women homebuyers under her tenure.

And the Irvine-based National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses is holding a nationwide series of workshops on the topic, kicking off with Tuesday's event in Pasadena. The group's CEO Desiree Patno said that women have more buying power as they shift into more professional careers from previous generations.

"They’re waiting to get married so they’re focusing on their career so they get higher-paid jobs, and the idea is they can afford to buy a home," Patno said.

By comparison, single males lag women on home purchases, representing 9 percent of owners. Cindy Wu Freedman, a realtor based in the Valley, said she’s found that single men think less about the long-term.

"The guys are very focused on going home, going to work," Freedman said. "But women are a little more financial savvy, more of a budgeter."

But even good budgeters have it hard in Southern California. Prices are high, supply is low, and investors often compete with residents for the available housing stock. But the National Association of Realtors says there’s some good news for single-income homebuyers: investors aren't buying homes like they used to, because they aren’t seeing as much of a return as they have in previous years.  

"We are seeing investors starting to retreat from the market," said Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research for the National Association of Realtors.

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