A strong force in the housing market: single women
The number of single women purchasing homes continues to increase year over year. While married couples still represent the largest group of homebuyers at 63 percent, unmarried women are buying homes at double the rate of unmarried men—comprising 18 percent of the market, compared to men’s 9 percent.
Interestingly enough, single women are also purchasing homes with the lowest household income of all buyers at an average of $65,000. Women tend to view their purchase as more than an investment—placing a high value on the opportunity to make a home truly their own.
Research from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) indicates women make significant efforts to achieve the goal of homeownership, with 46 percent reporting having made financial sacrifices in order to afford a home—cutting spending items such as entertainment and clothing. Statistics also show women are more willing to buy entry-level and starter homes.
Women tend to put a higher value on the neighborhood they’re purchasing in—particularly its proximity to relatives, friends and health facilities, while also prioritizing outdoor space. Single women are gravitating toward certain geographic areas as well. According to the NAR, the top 10 metro areas with the highest gap of homeownership rate between single women and men are as follows:
- Oxnard, CA—15%
- El Paso, TX—15%
- Durham, NC—14%
- San Jose, CA—13%
- Colorado Springs, CO—12%
- Jackson, MS—12%
- Chattanooga, TN—11%
- Lakeland, FL—11%
- Tucson, AZ—11%
- Columbia, SC—11%
Additionally, many single-women buyers are caregivers, as 20 percent have children under the age of 18, and 12 percent purchased multi-generational homes in order to care for aging parents or accommodate children over 18.
The plight of the single woman buyer
As single women continue to be a rising force in the market, they often face obstacles inherent to their single status. With one income, while often taking on the caregiver status, single women are sometimes viewed as riskier clients, despite statistics stating otherwise. A study from the Urban Institute showed single women defaulted at a lower rate than their male counterparts—a 24.6 default rate for single women and a 25.4 percent default rate for single men.
And according to a study from Yale University, on average, single women buy homes for two percent more than single men but sell for two percent less. Reasons for this vary, but the study points to location, timing, choice of initial listing price and negotiating skills.
Steps to combat the gender gap
If you’re a single woman, you’ll want to get a pre-approval before you start looking for homes to ensure you can make an offer on the spot. Guaranteed Rate offers a pre-approval backed with full underwriting approval to boost your negotiating power.
Try to save as much as possible to put down enough to avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). You’ll also want to check your credit score and address any adverse reports, as they can sometimes be resolved before applying for your mortgage.
It is possible to buy with one income and with one credit score. But it’s so important to work with a loan officer you can trust. Guaranteed Rate created GROW, the Guaranteed Rate Organization of Women with the sole purpose of empowering women in the mortgage industry—amplifying women’s voices and recognizing women’s unique attributes. Members of the GROW community are dedicated to helping women buyers.
“GROW is critical to our company’s current state as it provides a community of professionals who work hard to navigate a space in an industry in which we are typically underrepresented,” explains Guaranteed Rate’s Executive Vice President and GROW Executive Sponsor, Lizzie Garner. “Through platforms like GROW, Guaranteed Rate will continue to support its women employees and tackle inclusivity throughout the industry.”
By diversifying the mortgage industry from the inside, GROW has hopes to make an impact in the experience women buyers have throughout the homebuying process. With a close focus on women’s unique attributes and priorities when buying a home, we’re better equipped to assist you with your homebuying process.
Get a pre-approval that means more from a company that expects more.
Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information.