According to The New York Times, single women own and occupy more homes than single men in the United States, despite earning only about 83 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to a new study. The report analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates. It found that 10.76 million U.S. homes were owned and occupied by single women, while 8.12 million were owned and occupied by single men.
How Could This Be, Considering the Wage Gap?
The study suggests several possible explanations. First, not all women are lower earners. This is especially true of women under 30, whose earnings meet or exceed that of their male counterparts in 22 U.S. metros, and meet or exceed at least 90 percent of men’s earnings in another 107, according to the report. A National Association of Realtors report posited that single women spend less for homes than men do, and are willing to make more financial sacrifices to make it happen.
Women also have a longer life expectancy than men, so some portion of single women who own and occupy their homes are widows who previously lived with a spouse. This could help explain why retirement-friendly Florida had the largest gap in homeownership rates among single women and single men — about 4.5 percent in favor of the women.
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 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.
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.
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 at usamortgage.com/find-a-branch.