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Why are single women outnumbering single men in homeownership?

Home for sale sign in front of house
Adobe

Victoria Kent bought her first home in Chicago in the summer of 2019. She’s one of 10.7 million single women in the country who own a home.

“It was a really proud moment to do it on my own,” Kent said. “It seemed like the right time to do it, even though it was very scary to do it on my own.”

Kent lives with her boyfriend and their dog. She said the decision to buy a home for herself was driven by a desire for more space and autonomy.

MORE: Study confirms that single women in US own more homes than single men

“I was also wanting to do something more important with my money,” she said.

Today, single women own more homes than single men. Analysis from online lending marketplace Lending Tree found single women own about 13% of owner-occupied homes compared to 10% among single men.

The stats tell us that if there are about 20 houses on a block, one of them would be owned by a single man, whereas 2-3 would be owned by single women like Victoria Kent.

“It happened scarily fast. I had good credit. I had enough for a 20% down payment and then just signed the paperwork, and that was almost it,” she said.

According to Lending Tree senior economist Jacob Channel, the trend is seen in 48 states, with Louisiana having the highest share of homes owned by single women.

Channel says North and South Dakota are the only two states where single men outnumber single women in homeownership — which he believes may be due to male-dominated agriculture and oil industry jobs in those states.

“The states that have higher homeownership rates for women tend to have women who live longer, maybe more job opportunities or more equal job opportunities,” Channel said.

He says there are several reasons why more women are holding property in their own names. It may be the result of a divorce or a death, but more commonly, young women are excelling at their careers and prioritizing personal goals.

“Young women especially are more likely now to graduate from college. In some areas they’re earning comparably with men,” he said.

Government numbers show women earn an estimated 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, though the gap has narrowed over recent decades as efforts to mend the disparity continue. Plus, women’s earnings have steadily increased in the past decade.

“Women are making huge strides toward narrowing things like the wage gap in America and a big result of that is now that they’re more likely to be homeowners,” Channel said.

And just like Kent, they’re investing more in their financial security.

“You kind of grow up thinking you get married. But then I kind of realized I don’t need a partner to do it. I could just do it on my own,” Kent said.

She also said she enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of having her own home. She renovated her house and tried to monetize her home business.

“I mean, who’s here to say no? My backyard, I’ve hosted like client events back there, I bought a vintage camper that I rent out as a remote workspace,” Kent said.

And Channel agrees — investing in a home is a great way to build personal wealth.

“Especially as you age and maybe eventually sell that house for a profit,” Channel said.

Despite changes in the housing market, recent findings show the average U.S. homeowner gained over 14,000 in equity in the past year.

As for Kent, the decision to buy a home in her own name is already paying off in more ways than one.

“It’s not a dream that I knew I had, but once I did, it was like, wow, this is a huge accomplishment, and I’m really proud of myself,” Kent said.

By Melina Chalkia, Scripps News

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Scripps News

Scripps News delivers compelling, context-driven news, fact-based reporting and a deeper look at the "why" of each story with objective, impactful storytelling. Scripps News is available over-the-air 24/7 and on leading connected TV platforms. More.

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