Bricks and mortar, then the altar!

Shifting social trends and traditions coupled with empowerment and growing equality in the workplace mean that many more women are buying their own homes as a mark of independence - often before getting married.

Ruth Nel, Head of Marketing of South Africa’s mortgage originator MortgageSA, says, “In the 6 years since we started, we have a seen a sharp increase in women - and young women in particular – who have sourced home loans and bond protection products through us.

“In particular we get a lot of women with great, well paid jobs in their late twenties and early thirties who want to buy their own homes as a symbol of their own success and independence and also know that it’s a good investment.”

Nel says many more women are hitting the workplace as opportunities open up and companies commit to upping their quota of women. Empowerment has also had a hefty increase in the number of women with not just jobs, but good jobs.

“It also seems that women are increasingly breaking the glass ceiling – it certainly seems the model of moving into your own home only when you’re married is a thing of the past.”

Nel says shifts in social norms and traditions the world over means many women are getting married later in life and hence are in the financial position to buy property before they get married.

“Given today’s wide range of acceptable lifestyle choices, many women choose to ‘make it’ in careers before they get married and are very savvy when it comes to buying and selling property. They often choose careers first and then settle down probably later in life than their mothers did.

“If you look at countries like the UK, there are growing numbers of women who do not see the model of home and babies at 25 as the urban dream – they see a smart apartment and the freedom to do what they want as the ideal lifestyle until they are in their thirties.

“In fact the average age of women getting married in the UK has increased by five years since 1961 to 28 for women and 30 for men according to a BBC survey. In the US, the age of women getting married for the first time is the oldest is has ever been. Similar patterns are likely to emerge in South Africa.

“This means women are a demographic with increasing disposable income and it’s beginning to show in the property market.”

Nel says a lot of the women have also created a great deal of wealth for themselves over the last few years by buying property and soon as they were able to afford it.

“Some have even bought two or three properties and are now sitting pretty.”
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