Single Women Leading Men in US Home Ownership
The latest research into women’s struggles with money, Mary Pilon of US business website Bloomberg notes, can make for dreary news.
“Women earn less than their male counterparts, pay harsher workplace penalties for pursuing parenthood, struggle more with debt, and save less for retirement,” Pilon wrote of the situation in the United States, although she could easily have been writing about Australia.
Crucially, women also lose years from their careers by raising children, they do mountains of unpaid (and often unappreciated) domestic work and to top it all off – when facing financial strain – often give birth to under-weight babies.
Many also still face nagging historical stereotypes that women can’t manage money – despite evidence showing women shoulder more financial decision-making and responsibility in families, marriages and relationships than ever before. Sound like a recipe for financial stress?
Forget ‘dreary’ – the news about women and money can be downright depressing.
But according to new research from the National Association of Realtors, single women in the US are leaving single men in the dust for home ownership compared to single men.
The NAR says 17 per cent of American homebuyers are single women compared to single men, who make up just 7 per cent of the market.
Pilon spoke to “30-something” Michelle Jackson who bought a one bedroom apartment in Denver in 2007 which she plans to renovate and is even considering buying a second property.
“I’m so happy,” Jackson said. “It’s completely changed how I feel connected to the place where I’m living. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Jackson’s motivation could easily echo the story of many Australian women: “I wanted to have my own place,” she said.
“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.
“If and when I met someone, it’s something that just added to what I bring to the relationship. It didn’t make sense to wait.”
In Australia single men still lead single women when it comes to applications for mortgage finance, according to Aussie Home Loan data reported by domain.com.au in 2016, but the gap is closing. Aussie Home Loans data said 12.34 of mortgage applicants were single men and 11.22 were single women.
Swinburne University social researcher Andrea Sharam said historical discrimination against Australian women in the loan approval process was shifting.
“It’s appalling to suggest women are more financially illiterate than men,” Sharam told domain.com.au.
“I think younger women in particularly are now thinking about housing as something they do as a part of their life plan … it doesn’t matter if they get a partner or not.”