January 18, 2021

Are Gender House-Hunting Role Stereotypes Changing?

In my experience, the answer is YES.
 
There’s no shortage of research and insights into how men and women differ when it comes to consumer attitudes—but scarcely any that deals specifically with the most important purchase either sex makes: buying a home. A while back (2013), Realtor® Magazine did tackle the topic in a piece based on a 50,000-consumer survey of active house-hunters. 

In general, the house-hunting process itself was slightly more enjoyable for women, with 87% saying they liked looking at homes—10% more than for the men. Their views of homeownership differed as well. Men tended to associate it with “control over living space” and “more space for my family,” while women linked homeownership to words like “pride,” “accomplishment,” or “independence.” Those answers would conform to timeworn stereotypes, with the men tending to concentrate on a future home’s physical properties, while the feminine take focused on the social implications of living there—a difference that’s certainly thought-provoking.


These stereotypes were less well-delineated when it came to the type of house-hunting responsibilities each gender tended to assume. Women thought they took the lead in chores like neighborhood research, while men considered collecting financial data was primarily their responsibility. Those results tended to be more inconclusive than not: most often, a majority of house-hunters of either sex considered responsibilities to be shared.  What I see in Greenwich are that partners or spouses are much more collaborative these days than years ago.  Young couples often make sure they both are on a call, no matter what the topic surrounding the hunt.  The roles around home purchasing seem less defined and communication, 9 times out of 10, is with both purchasers.    


Such nebulous conclusions probably explain why there has been a lack of recent research into the subject. Too, there has been an understandable shift of interest into the more readily investigated phenomenon of the rise of single women as “a driving force in homeownership”(the Washington Post’s phrase). In recent years, as women move ahead in the workplace, single women account for more home purchases than do single men.

 

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