New population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the Nashville metro statistical area added 36,337 people during the one-year stretch that ended July 1, 2016, meaning the region grew by an average of 100 people a day over those 12 months. Wochit
Laura Hall is happy to be one of the growing number of single women buying homes in the Nashville region, but getting the keys to her front door required a few trade-offs.
She wanted her first house to be in the Crieve Hall neighborhood close to her work in the 100 Oaks area. And she knew what she wanted to pay. But after losing out on four properties, she knew she needed to broaden her search.
“We walked in one house and they said you’re welcome to look around, but we have four offers,” Hall recalled.
She purchased a 1,500-square-foot 1960s ranch-style house in August. The house is in the Tusculum neighborhood along Nolensville Pike in south Nashville. The price was higher than she originally budgeted.
“Try finding something for a single person in Nashville under $200,000. I ended up over budget,” said Hall.
Realtor Janell Glasgow Hall helped her daughter Laura Hall find her new home in the Tusculum neighborhood in south Nashville. The home was slightly more than Laura wanted to spend, but it has an updated kitchen and a large yard for her pets. (Photo: Alan Poizner / For USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee)
On the plus side, the house has an updated kitchen, an open floor plan, a patio with a brick fireplace and a two-car garage. The sellers sold for below their asking price and agreed to pay closing costs. Hall has nearly an acre of space for her pets, but the yard isn’t level.
The challenges and rewards of finding the right home at the right price are familiar to anyone who has purchased a house, a townhouse or a condominium. Realtors say most homes are purchased by couples, but today, women are increasingly passing the milestone of homeownership on their own.
About 17 percent of buyers across the country are single women, said Janell Glasgow-Hall, a Pilkerton Realtor and Laura Hall’s mother. Christie Wilson, president of The Wilson Group Real Estate Services, said 25 percent of her customers are single women.
“The days of women waiting to get married to have someone to do it with are long gone,” said Wilson.
Baley Bodden, a Realtor with Exit Realty Music City. (Photo: Submitted)
For Baley Bodden, a Realtor with Exit Realty Music City, single women now make up 20 to 25 percent of her client base.
“Definitely a good percentage are young professional women who are single. If more people knew they could save thousands of dollars a year by not renting, that would be a game changer,” said Bodden.
Single men are not buying homes at the same pace as single women, said Glasgow-Hall. Her research shows just 7 percent of buyers are single men.
Wilson agreed men are a much smaller part of Nashville’s home buying market.
“Women understand the value of homeownership and are not waiting (because) girls are so encouraged by their parents that you can be anything,” she said.
The challenge of finding something affordable, and competing with other buyers, can be daunting.
“It’s not fun right now,” said Glasgow-Hall. “Nashville’s hot real estate market, with skyrocketing prices, is making it harder for single women to buy.”
Laura Hall was determined to save money to buy a house instead of renting. After graduating from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2014, she moved back home to her parents’ house in Brentwood and began her career.
“I moved back into the bedroom I grew up in,” she said.
Saving for a down payment and the other costs of buying a home while simultaneously paying rent seemed impossible. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Nashville was $1,388 in October, according to Rent Jungle, which tracks markets nationwide.
“The cost of renting with a pet fee was comparable to buying,” said Laura Hall.
The combination of savings, assistance from her parents and a willingness to broaden her search made buying possible, and she loves her new neighborhood.
“It’s family friendly,” she said, “and more people my age are moving in.”