The spring home-buying season is about to be in full swing and all the single ladies will be helping to drive the market, according to new real estate data.

In New Jersey, first-time homebuyers are a big portion of the market — 35 percent. And single women — mostly in the millennial generation — make up 19 percent of that portion.

Nationally, single women are twice as likely to buy a home than single men.

But why?

Ralph DiBugnara, vice president of Parsipanny-based Residential Home Funding, based in Parsipanny says many millennial women are getting married and having children later in life.

"It's become an empowering thing to own their own home," he said. "They don't have to start a family, they don't have to get married."

They saw their parents suffer through the recession and they are ready to put that behind them. Even though they make less money on average, women are still the ones more likely to make the financial sacrifice and buy a home.

The average age for a single woman to buy a home is 34, while the U.S. Census says the average age to marry is 29.

Single women are coming in droves to metropolitan areas and commuter areas, says DiBugnara, with the hot home buying spots including Jersey City, Hoboken, Ridgewood and Cranford — towns with train stations and "a little bit of a metropolitan, downtown feel."

Many are not buying single-family homes, opting for condos, co-ops and smaller townhouses.

The biggest problem right now, DiBugnara says, is that there is "a lack of new homes coming to market but there are a lot of single women looking, so it's helping."

Once a home comes on the market, however, it does goes quickly, usually at list or above-list price in the areas where these women are looking.

To get started on your home-buying mission, DiBugnara suggests three things.

First, check your credit report. He says you can go online to several sites and find out your credit score.

Second, get pre-approved. You can contact a local mortgage company. It's free and they'll tell you how much you can actually spend.

Third, find a realtor. For millennials this is great, he says because they can go on the internet and find millions of reviews on local realtors and then choose who they want to use.

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