Alongside the recent wave of first-time buyers (47% of buyers in 2009 according to the National Association of REALTORS®) also comes a trend in the number of single homebuyers and, in particular, single women buyers. NAR’s 2009 homebuyer profile found 21 percent of buyers nationwide were single women and 10 percent single men. The number of single women buyers is up from just 14% in 1995.

In an online exclusive in the July Illinois REALTOR® Magazine, Chicago REALTOR® Julie Woodward-Trenker, ABR, CRS, with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lakeview says 60 percent of her business has evolved into singles over her 10 years in real estate (primarily single women) largely due to a niche she’s developed with first-time buyers.

Says Trenker: “There’s a lot to commend about women taking control of their own financial future, investing for themselves.”

Four years into his real estate career at Coldwell Banker Devonshire Realty in Peoria, REALTOR® Adam LaHood’s market has become 36 percent single buyers. He and partner Jim Gillespie have built a referral base from the area’s young engineers working at Caterpillar and doctors and nurses from the region’s many hospitals—mainly because they’re in a similar age group, same social scene and are connected via Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites.

“I think that unlike my father’s generation or people five and 10 years older than me, younger singles and younger married people are working to live rather than living to work,” says LaHood, age 34. “This factors into their desire for homes with outdoor living spaces, the ability to walk to bars and restaurants and specialty shopping.”

For more single buyer trends, check out a Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey that found over half (53 percent) of single homeowners reported that they purchased a home because it was more cost effective than renting in their area, and most single homeowners (52%) chose to buy in the suburbs versus the city or rural areas.