By Iris Richmond. Noting a marked up-tick in the number of single women buying new homes, particularly townhouses, builders in Charlotte, N.C., have accelerated their marketing efforts aimed at this group.

In its Lake Park community last year, Beazer Homes found that 60 percent of the townhome buyers were single women. The company quickly developed advertising campaigns tailored to media with high female demographics, including radio stations catering to female listeners and magazines published for women. Since launching the campaign last fall, Beazer's sales to single women in Charlotte have increased by 20 percent.

Ryland and Colony Homes have taken notice of the trend, too. The builders are further sweetening their deals with financial incentives. Beazer's mortgage program, for example, requires only $1 down and includes lawn care and a free refrigerator in the package.

Photo: Courtesy Burke Communications

An ad from a direct mail campaign mailed out to 3,500 women in Charlotte, N.C. last month. Ryland found that 70 percent of its Charlotte townhome buyers are single women. A series of female testimonials, the first ever done by the builder, are running in a local alternative weekly publication called Creative Loafing, which targets readers under 45--nearly half of them single women. BIG BUILDER Magazine, April 2002