Single Women Emerge as Force in Homebuying

Single women are a growing force in the housing market.

While research generally indicates women are less well off financially than men, one key area in which women are likely to fare better than men is homeownership.

A LendingTree analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data finds that single women who live by themselves are more likely than single men who live by themselves to own a home in 47 of 50 states. The study also found that single women own 2.71 million more homes than single men.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it was recorded that 65 percent of single female prospective homebuyers said they would rather not wait for marriage to buy a home. They found that 30 percent of women who already own homes bought them when they were single; women aren’t waiting for the homeownership part of the traditional coupled-up decision to buy a home.

So, What’s Driving the Trend

It comes down to financial stability. According to Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the NAR, for single women homebuyers, financial stability is the most important part of the equation.

“Women have a very strong preference for homeownership,” Lautz says. “They think it’s a good financial investment and are willing to make financial sacrifices to achieve it. They traditionally have a lower household income, and they’re willing to cut expenses in other areas of their life to achieve homeownership.”

How it Works Impacts Budgeting and Peace of Mind

While single women typically make less money on average than single men, they are more eager to buy a home. This supports the idea of women wanting to achieve certainty and stability in the form of homeownership. During a time when monthly rent prices have been on the rise, it’s comforting and strategic to know when their next mortgage payment will be, which allows for easier budgeting and peace of mind.

“Knowing exactly what your payment is going to be for the next 30 years, especially if you’re a single mom, could be incredibly important for women,” Lautz says.

Tenants face the possibility that the landlord could not just raise the rent but decide not to renew their lease. Because of this many women claim to have much more peace of mind owning their home versus renting.

Key Findings via LendingTree

  • Across the U.S., single women own 2.71 million more homes than single men. Single women own 10.95 million homes, while single men own 8.24 million. Put another way, single women own an average of 12.93% of the owner-occupied homes across the 50 states, versus 10.22% among single men.
  • The homeownership gender gap has increased slightly since 2021. Single women owned 10.76 million homes across the U.S. in 2021, while men owned 8.12 million — a difference of 2.64 million. This means that the 2022 gap of 2.71 million is 70,000 homes higher than in 2021.
  • Delaware, with the highest share of homes owned by single women, has the largest homeownership gap. 15.34% of owner-occupied households in the state are owned by single women — 5.89 percentage points higher than the share of homes owned by single men.
  • After Delaware, Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest single-women homeownership rates. In the two states, 15.19% and 14.84% of owner-occupied households are owned by women who live by themselves. For comparison, single men own 10.71% and 10.85% of owner-occupied households in the same states.
  • The homeownership rate is highest among single men in New Mexico, North Dakota and Alaska. In these states, single men own 12.85%, 12.74% and 12.44% of all owner-occupied housing units.
  • Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a higher share of homes than single women. In Alaska, the share of homes owned and occupied by single men is 2.16 percentage points higher than the share of homes owned by single women. In North Dakota and South Dakota, the differences are 2.08 percentage points and 0.68 percentage points.

Steps to Take to Achieve Homeownership with One Source of Income

Buying a home can be a daunting task even with two incomes. Buyers with one income need to take extra steps when considering the purchase of a home.

  • Look at your finances. If you’re drowning in credit card debt or facing other financial challenges, address those issues first. Making sure that you’re financially ready to buy a home is the most important place for any buyer to start, but this could be even more important for single buyers with one income.
  • Focus on your credit score. Your credit score is the most important factor in determining the mortgage rate you’ll pay, so pay all bills promptly and don’t run up large balances on your credit cards.
  • Research first-time buyer programs. Most states and some cities offer down payment assistance for first-time buyers. View our available home loan programs here.
  • Be prepared to fight. While the U.S. housing supply has eased a bit in recent months, this remains very much a seller’s market, one characterized by tight inventories and aggressive competition among buyers. Full-price offers remain common.
  • Apply for a mortgage. Once you’ve found a place, make sure to contact one of our local lenders and ask about our mortgage options. Finding the right home loan can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
  • Consider a low-down payment mortgage. For single women who can’t come up with 20 percent down, there are plenty of mortgages that offer down payments as low as 3 percent.
  • Don’t forget about maintenance costs. One downside of homeownership is shouldering the responsibility for repairs (pipes leak, appliances break, and roofs wear out). Making sure you are prepared for any and all emergencies and repairs will set you up for a more stress-free journey of homeownership.

Whether you just have questions or are ready to fill out an application, our local lenders are here to help.

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