Women and Homeownership

Women and Homeownership

As Women's History month wraps up, we wanted to provide an update on women's progress in homeownership. Single women continue to dominate homeownership nationally despite the financial and societal obstacles that most of them face.

As of January 2024, single women own approximately 2.71 million more homes than single men across all 50 states. Using data from the latest United States census, Lending Tree found that single women own roughly 10.9 million homes in America compared to 8.24 million owned by single men. This means that on average, single women own 12.93% of the owner-occupied homes compared to 10.22% for single men.

For decades, single females have outpaced single males in homeownership. In 2021, single women owned 10.76 million homes across the U.S. while men owned 8.12 million, which is a difference of 2.64 million homes. The 2022 gap of 2.71 million is 70,000 homes more than the previous year.

In 2023, individual female mortgage applicants made up 18% of the nationwide market, which is a share that's slowly grown since mortgage platform Maxwell started tracking applicants' gender and marital status in 2021. Another statistic of note is that one in three women with partners purchased homes alone because they were in a stronger financial position to do so according to Maxwell's annual Single Women Home Buyer Report.

Single women are more likely to own a home in 47 states. In fact, the only states in which single men who live alone own a higher share of homes then their female counterparts are Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

In Ohio, the share of housing units owned by single women according to Axios is 13.7% compared to single men at 11.3% with the owner-occupied units totaling 3,291,131 as of February 14, 2024. In Columbus, single female owners outpace single men by an even larger 6.5% according to analysis by Porch, a provider of home services.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency's (OHFA's) research supports the statewide findings of Axios. Over the past five years, 36% of OHFA home loans went to single women. This is compared to 31% going to single men and 32% going to married couples. The data is impressive considering that the reason the percentages for single men and women homebuyers are considerably higher than those shared for all owner-occupied housing in Ohio would be that homebuyers tend to be younger and single, and the whole universe of homeowners is going to be mostly married couples, including a lot of older people.

Prior to the passage of the Fair Housing Act 50 years ago, women had no legal recourse under federal law for any kind of lending discrimination. After the sex discrimination prohibitions in the Fair Housing Act and the protections of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, women were legally protected to obtain a mortgage without a co-signer.

However, there is much work still to be done toward true equality since single Latina and Black women have the lowest ownership rates of any group in the nation. Single women with children also face low ownership rates compared to other groups, including single men with children.

With rising real estate prices and the increasing cost of renting, women are taking advantage of more initiatives and policies to help them achieve financial stability and independence. OHFA's homebuyer programs include:

  • Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance
  • Ohio Heroes
  • Grants for Grads
  • Mortgage Tax Credit (MTC)
  • Next Home

For more information, including qualifications, visit myohiohome.org.