Women may earn only 83 cents for every dollar that men earn, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting a leg up on the property ladder.
In North Carolina, single women own about 389,716 homes, while single men own about 283,139 homes, according to a new study by online lending marketplace LendingTree.
Put another way, single women own 13.92% of the 2.8 million owner-occupied homes in the state, while single men own 10.12%. That’s a gender gap of around 3.8 percentage points.
Indeed, it’s a nationwide trend.
The report, based on microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates, found that single women owned and occupied a larger percentage of homes in 48 of 50 states. Altogether, single women own about 10.76 million homes (about 13%) nationally, while single men own about 8.12 million (about 10%) — a difference of about 2.64 million homes, or 3 percentage points.
North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a higher share of homes than single women.
Florida has the largest gap in homeownership rates among single women and single men at 4.55 percentage points — nearly 2 points higher than the national average of 2.84 percentage points.
The study doesn’t take race into account.
“Despite the data showing women generally earn less money than men, the gender-gap script is flipped here,” the report said.
There are a few possible explanations.
First, it’s not always the case that women earn less. This is especially true among younger generations, the report noted, citing data from the Pew Research Center showing that women younger than 30 earn at least as much as men younger than 30 in 22 U.S. metros, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In another 107 metros, women make 90% or more of men’s earnings.
“This study comes as no surprise to me,” said John Wood, owner of Re/Max United in Cary, who has been an agent in the Triangle since 1988. “For first-time homebuyers, we’ve always observed more single women want to own a home earlier than single men.”
A National Association of Realtors report also posited women prioritize homeownership more than single men and are more willing than single men to make sacrifices to become homeowners.
“About 80% of single parents in the U.S. are single mothers,” said Jay Nelson, communications director for the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors (RARR). “That’s over 8 million mothers who want to provide proper housing for their children. That means making great efforts to find a place to call home, despite this gender gap in salary.”
Another factor: Women tend to live longer than men.
It’s likely many women who now report being single homeowners bought that home with the spouse they outlived, the report said.
Maya Galletta, a Realtor with Legacy Realty Partners in Cary, confirmed this reality.
“We do see a higher percentage of widows owning homes on their own,” she told The N&O. “Of the buyers that I’m currently working with, half of them are single women — anywhere from the first-time homebuyer to the widow looking to be closer to her grandchildren.”
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