ORLANDO, Fla. – More women in the Orlando area are becoming homeowners, according to federal data and a recent study that compared homeownership across the country.
For Jessica Burns, 35, owning her own home was always the dream. She remembered when she was younger and lived in a renovated school bus with her parents and three siblings while they were in between homes.
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“It was always kind of the thought of not having something that was my own, a room that was my own, a space that was my own,” Burns said. “That kind of forced me to become a more independent person because I thought I never want to find myself in that same position. I want to have more control over my life.”
Last summer Burns decided the time was right to buy her first home. She said her rent was going up, so she crunched the numbers to see if purchasing a single-family home was worth it.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to pay $1,600 in rent when I could have a house for less than that,’” she said. “And when I really got to the numbers and I got to looking at what it equals out to be, I was shocked that it was less expensive nowadays to buy a house and to pay a mortgage than it was to pay rent.”
Burns worked with realtor Lindsey Hudson of Creegan Property Group to find a 1971 3-bedroom home in Orlando. Burns said she loved the property on her visit.
“I walked around and I had a list for a very long time of everything I wanted in a house, like what’s my ideal situation and even coming down to the window over the kitchen. I walked in and said, ‘I feel this is it for me,’” she said.
Burns purchased the newly-renovated home in December 2021 for $250,000.
“Helping first-time homebuyers get past that first hurdle, their expectations and the scariness of the market and the financial woes of, ‘Can I do this?’ is really rewarding,” Hudson said.
More female buyers are entering into homeownership. According to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which requires federal institutions to report public loan data, 24% of home purchase loans in 2020 were from female buyers in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area. Nationwide, 21% of buyers were female.
A new report from Inspection Service Network, which provides property inspection software services, puts Orlando in the top 20 most female homebuyers in the United States, along with Miami, Tampa. Atlanta comes out on top.
It’s a trend Hudson said is on the rise.
“I’ve helped several ladies who are owning their own properties already and are ready to sell and move. I also have a few clients coming from out of state that are female that are just looking for, they found a new job and they’re trying out a new place,” Hudson said.
For Burns, she said the experience empowered her.
“I think perhaps the uptick or rise of women doing that is realizing that I don’t need to wait until I have this partner to do what I want to do or to buy a home,” Burns said.
She adds she hopes her story will inspire others to jump into the market.
“It’s important for me for people, especially women, to understand it’s a lot more approachable to do something like this on your own than you think it is,” she said.