Have women's changing relationships with homeownership helped define who they are?
It wasn't that long ago when women had only a secondary role in the home. They cooked for it. They cleaned it. And in some cases they ran it with an iron fist. But they rarely purchased it.
In the 50s this type of woman was epitomized by June Cleaver, the pearl-clad TV matriarch who was a 'housewife,' i.e. she lived in a home that was bought and paid for by her husband.
Mary Tyler Moore represented a steep departure from that prototype. She was a working professional woman, circa 1974, who made her own money and her own way in the world. But she also had no husband and, therefore, no house. When she wasn't working in the newsroom, she lived in a rented efficiency.
By 1981, however, single women like Mary were putting their hard-earned money to good use. They had pulled even with single men in the number of homes purchased per year.
But in the 21st Century, the tide has turned. These days young, single professional women are realizing the American Dream more often than anyone else.
According to the National Association of Realtors, last year single women purchased more than twice as many homes as single men bought. In fact, single women bought one of every five homes sold, or 1.5 million homes.
A recent article in USA Today points out that there are many demographic reasons for this change, but the biggest one seems to be a change in point of view. Women now feel like they can acquire their own homes instead of waiting for Mr. Right to buy them one.
YWGC agent Annie Balcerzak couldn't agree more. "I've helped a lot of young, single professional women buy their homes in the last couple of years," she said.
Asked if she thinks it's a trend, Balcerzak said, "I think young, professional women are savvy enough to see the opportunity. Prices are way down from where they were just two years ago. Interest rates are nothing short of extraordinary. Women understand that buying now means locking yourself into the investment of a lifetime."
Balcerzak is sure she has a handle on the trend: "Well, I'm a woman. I'm 30. And I just settled on my second home," she said, with a smile.