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Where Are All The Single Buyers?

By Ray White Whitsunday

Nerida Conisbee
Ray White Group
Chief Economist

The number of single people purchasing homes is falling but becoming more evenly matched by gender.

Increasing cost of housing has meant that the proportion of single people purchasing homes is falling. In 2014, an estimated 26.2 per cent of purchasers were single. By 2022, that had fallen to 24.5 per cent. An interesting dynamic however is also occurring by gender. A drop in single male purchasers is driving the decline whereas the number of single female buyers as a proportion of total buyers remains steady. By volume, the number of purchases by single women has risen by over 11 per cent since 2014. 

The number of single female buyers was calculated using Valuer General data on all sales from 2014 and cross referencing first names using Genderize, an AI powered API that determines the likely gender of a name. The technique allowed us to analyse an average of over five million transactions from 2014 to 2022. The analysis isn’t perfect. In 2023, full names were removed from all transactions and prior to that, first names were not included in the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania. Nevertheless, it does provide the largest sample of data available in determining trends in single female purchasers of Australian property. 

Since 2014, there has been a clear increase in the number of single female purchasers. In that year, there were 64,680 purchases made by single women. That had increased to 71,900 women by 2022. The only category that increased more quickly was a rise in the number of companies/trusts purchasing property, perhaps driven by a rise in people using self managed superannuation to buy property, as well as growing interest by large corporations in owning investment properties. 

It is likely that rising education about the importance of home ownership in building wealth, as well as government schemes to assist low to middle income earners into the market have been a driver. When looking more specifically at a suburb level, large scale development of more affordable apartments in central areas also appears to play a role. Overwhelmingly, the largest number of purchases are of units in areas where very large numbers of units are available. The top locations for house purchases are also predominantly affordable fringe development areas. 

Overall, Victoria has the highest proportion of single female purchasers and NSW the lowest. It is likely driven by low levels of affordability in NSW making it difficult for single purchasers to enter the market. Since 2014, the number of single person buyers has fallen significantly. In Victoria, very high levels of development over the time period analysed has created a large number of affordable homes for that state which has provided far more opportunities for people to buy on their own. 

Topping the list nationally is Melbourne CBD where there has been 7,750 purchases of apartments by single females since 2014. However, the Gold Coast has also made several appearances on the list with Surfers Paradise coming in second. The top 10 locations for houses are all in Victoria and are affordable areas. Interestingly, it also includes a number of regional locations, including Mildura at number four.

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