On International Women’s Day, Credello Explores Gender Inequality in the Housing Market

Single women are becoming homeowners at a faster rate than single men (score!), accounting for 19% of first-time buyers compared to 11% of unattached men1. The median age of these female buyers is 33. Great, right? 
Millennial ladies are shoving the men aside and ascending the throne of real estate royalty. They’re deciding that home ownership is worth it—after knowing what it’s like to rent and understanding the benefits of owning a home, like having the option of taking out a home equity loan for debt consolidation. However, a closer look at the data shows that women ultimately purchase homes at higher prices and sell them at lower costs than men (boooo!).  
Why single women are invested in home ownership
Women are getting married and having children later in life, focusing more on their careers. They make up just over half of all payroll jobs in the U.S., coming in at 50.04%2. They have the resources to purchase real estate and realize that home equity is both a smart investment and a tax benefit. This might explain why single women own approximately 1.5 million more homes than single men in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.3  
But once you parse the data, the outcome for women is shown to be far less encouraging. One recent study4 from Yale shows that single women purchase homes for 2% more than single men. When mortgages are taken into account, assuming 20% down and 80% financed, this increases to about 7%.  They then sell their homes for 2% less. So, what’s the deal?  
5 reasons why women lose overall in home ownership
1. Less purchasing power: Women currently earn 81 cents on the dollar compared to men, translating to less purchasing power when it comes to buying homes. This likely contributes to the fact that single men buy more expensive homes. The median home purchase price for single men is $215,000, compared to $189,000 for single women1.    
2. Homes appreciate slower: Homes owned by single women are less valuable and consequently appreciate at slower rates. Furthermore, one study shows that this gap widens over time. After 15 years, homes owned by single men were worth 17% more than homes owned by single women5.  
3. Women negotiate lower discounts: The Yale study notes that single women receive smaller discounts on homes than single men do. Women also agree to bigger discounts when selling.  
The biggest price discrepancy happens when a woman is selling and a man is buying. And it looks like there’s a reason why they don’t try to play hardball. Research shows that women who negotiate are viewed less favorably than their deal-making male counterparts6.  
4. Men take more risks; make upgrades: Men are more likely to purchase riskier properties than women, which can offer higher returns. Guys are also more likely to invest in housing upgrades.  
5. Men have better market timing: Single men have better market timing than single women. No, men don’t have a crystal ball or a tingling spidey sense for when the market is hot. One hypothesis from the Yale study is that women deal with more time constraints on when they can buy and sell due to them being more likely to have children/care for dependents.  
[1] National Association of Realtors 
[2] USA Facts 
[3] LendingTree 
[4] Yale University 
[5] RealtyTrac 
[6] Harvard University 
Source: Credello