Women are becoming homeowners at an increasing rate based on a new report from Compass and Better. This news is exciting, considering women have historically been denied mortgages more often than men, despite the fact that single women default less often than men even with having lower incomes on average — 13.5% lower to be exact.
Of the Compass agents surveyed in the aforementioned report, 58% shared that the majority of their clients were women who were the primary or sole buyer. While Better reported that over the past year, 23% of their lenders were women with an average credit score of 770. Not only is the rate of female homebuyers rising, but single women are also embarking on the home buying process earlier than single men.
While the gender wage gap will continue to be prevalent, a lot of progress has been made in the past few years. The median full-time female worker only makes 80.7 cents for each dollar her male equivalent makes, although Better reported that last year the majority of married co-lender women had a higher income than their male spouses. Women made $5,666 each month on average while men made $3,035 per month. In addition, 1 in 3 women who obtained a loan from Better didn’t include their spouse on the application.
Several decades ago, married buyers represented more than four-fifths of the housing market, so it’s clear that we’ve entered a new world amongst the housing industry and women are on the top. In 1985, 81% of homebuyers were married couples, whereas last year it was down to 67%. Even today, when most picture new homebuyers they likely think of a married couple, although unmarried partners accounted for only 7% of total sales last year, according to Jessica Lautz of National Association of Realtors.
The future is female—and they’re homeowners.
If you’re a woman and you’re thinking I couldn’t purchase a home right now, who are these women? The answer is all women. As Nikki Merkerson, a 29-year-old homebuyer shares, “A lot of people think they can’t afford to buy, but if you’re renting right now, you’re paying a mortgage — it’s just not yours.”
Based on a survey from Marie Claire and House Beautiful, these homebuying women range in age and income. They surveyed American women ranging from 18 to 60 years old and established that 17% of them had bought a home solo. As more women are in the workplace than ever before, that certainly could play a role in these statistics as women are making more money than in the past. Twenty-eight percent of single female homeowners make between $25,000 and $49,999 annually and twenty percent make between $50,000 and $74,999. According to NAR, the median age of single women homebuyers today is 54, so single female homebuyers are typically middle-aged, either getting out of a marriage or never choosing to get married. Although there is a slew of younger buyers as well — thirty-four percent of those surveyed purchased their home between the ages of 18 and 29, and forty percent bought their house between ages 30 and 39.
“Women understand that buying a home is more than securing a place to live, but is an investment in their future that can ultimately be passed on to their family or play a significant role in their retirement.”
These younger buyers are part of a generation where marriage isn’t a top priority in your early 20’s. Women are waiting much longer to get married than in 1920 for example when the average woman got married at 21.2 years old. Today, the average age a woman gets married is 27.8 years old. The fact that women aren’t waiting to be married to purchase a home anymore opens the doors for many more buyers.
Despite the many hurdles women deal with when it comes to the housing industry, one in five homebuyers in the nation are still women. Considering the consistent growth of women homebuyers — jumping from 15% to 18% between 2017 and 2018 — there are no signs of them slowing down. As Monique Williams, a Compass agent, shared in a release, “Women understand that buying a home is more than securing a place to live, but is an investment in their future that can ultimately be passed on to their family or play a significant role in their retirement. I personally can think of few things more impactful on my life than the equity I have from purchasing my first or current home.”