Single women ahead of single men in US home ownership

WASHINGTON • By 2007, Ms Michelle Jackson, a 30-something writer, held a master's degree, had travelled the world and was enjoying her social life as a single woman.

She also felt the pull to buy her own home. "A lot of people in my circle of friends were women purchasing their homes when they got married, but I still felt like I wanted to build my own wealth and buy," she said.

A few open houses later, Ms Jackson was pre-approved for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and had put an offer in on a small, one-bedroom home in a triplex in Denver, Colorado, for US$72,500 (S$102,000).

She still lives in the home, which was appraised last year at more than double the price she paid.

The news and research about women and money can be dreary. Women earn less than their male counterparts, pay harsher workplace penalties for pursuing parenthood, struggle more with debt and save less for retirement.

  • 17%

    US home buyers who are single women.

    7%

    Home buyers who are single men.

But there's one area of personal finance where single women are outpacing men in the United States, and it is a significant one: home ownership. Single women account for 17 per cent of home buyers in the US compared with 7 per cent of single men, according to data from last year from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Although women have been ahead of men in NAR's data since 1981, the gap has widened even further in recent years, said Ms Jessica Lautz, NAR's managing director of survey research and communications.

There were 8.6 million single- mother households in 2011, more than three times the 2.6 million single-father households, according to the Pew Research Centre.

"Despite the stereotypes that insist that women care more about marriage than men do, it may actually be single life that women embrace more than men," said Dr Bella DePaulo, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Single women ahead of single men in US home ownership'. Print Edition | Subscribe