Women Home Buyers

Quick Takeaways

  • Women have overcome historic barriers to home buying
  • Single women home buyers are generally older than their male counterparts
  • Single women pay 2% more when buying a house and sell it for 2% less

Source: The State of Women's Homeownership (Housing Matters, March 29, 2023)

NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers provides current statistics on women home buyers.

Women own more homes than men. Contributing to this is a longer life expectancy in women and more education than men. CNBC reports that 65% of women would buy a home without being married.

Women face discrimination in obtaining mortgages due to a lower income than men.  New technology can help eliminate this bias in mortgage lending.

NAR has curated a list of useful websites for women home buyers.

See References for more information.

NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

Chart: 2023 First-time and Repeat Home Buyers by Household Type

Source: 2023 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers

Statistics on Women and Homeownership

The share of single females slightly increased to 19 percent, and the share of single males rose to 10 percent.

Single females and single males were more likely than other household compositions to have purchased a townhouse or rowhouse as well as a cottage or cabin.

Single females more than any other household composition cited the convenience to friends and family as an influencing factor in their neighborhood choice at 55 percent.

Single females and single males purchased the smallest sized homes, with medians of 1,500 and 1,600 square feet respectively.

Source: 2023 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Women & Homeownership Trends

Black Women Outpace Black Men in Home-Buying, Education Disparity is a Contributing Factor (Black Enterprise, October 5, 2023)

  • Joshua Brown, founder of the Brooklyn-based real estate company Pushing Forward Realty, told The Amsterdam News that Black women buying homes tend to have more education and more disposable income. Among Black students in higher education, women are more likely than men to earn degrees, per the American Association of University Women.

Single Women Own More Homes Than Single Men in the U.S., But That Edge is Narrowing (Pew Research Center, June 12, 2023)

  • A basic reason the gender gap in homeownership among single Americans has narrowed in recent years is that single women no longer so heavily outnumber single men among older household heads. Today, women only account for about two-thirds of single household heads ages 65 and older, down from three-quarters in 2000. Again, this may reflect changes in life expectancy; women tend to live longer than men, but the gap has narrowed over time.

The State of Women's Homeownership (Housing Matters, March 29, 2023)

  • Because women still earn less than men on average, the homeownership gap between single women and single men may be surprising. However, the analysis explains that women are twice as likely than men to report being widowed. These women may have purchased their homes with their spouse, and then became the primary homeowner after their spouse passed. This could explain why single-women homeowners are typically older than their male counterparts, despite the pay gap being wider for older Americans.

65% of Women Would Buy a Home Without Being Married First. What to Know if You’re One of Them (CNBC, January 29, 2022)

  • “With the delay in getting married and starting families, I think it’s logical that 65% of single prospective homeowners would choose to be homeowners without having to get married first,” said Kathy Cummings, senior vice president of homeownership solutions and strategic relationships at Bank of America, of the study finding.

Financing Homeownership

Housing Market 2023: Why Women Are Paying More for Their Homes (GO Banking Rates, June 5, 2023)

  • Having a good understanding of current mortgage rates and shopping around for the best rate helps ensure you will not overpay for your mortgage. Ultimately, your rate will be determined by your income, your credit score, the length of the loan and your down payment.

Inequality Gap Persists in Lending Toward Female Borrowers (Mortgage Professional America, April 6, 2023)

  • Speaking to MPA on the heels of Women’s History Month, Ukpai said technology can be used to eliminate bias in lending that would help level the playing field: “There is a fundamental recognition that women are certainly capable and poised to be in positions where they can take advantage of the opportunities to build wealth, but we have to make sure we’re leveraging technology in a way that enables it to be more equitable.”

Three Challenges Facing Single Female Borrowers Entering the Mortgage Market (Urban Institute, March 30, 2022)

  • As a result of earning less than single male borrowers, single female borrowers also have higher mortgage debt relative to income; the average value of mortgage debt is 3.3 times a single female’s income compared with 3.2 times a single male’s income.

Useful Websites

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) — HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) works to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities.

The State of the Nation's Housing: 2023 (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2023) — Homeownership has become much more expensive in the wake of last year’s sharp rise in interest rates. While the homeownership rate increased in 2022, by the end of the year the higher costs appeared to be taking a toll as the rate of homeownership growth slowed.

2020 Women Housing Ecosystem Report (National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses, 2020) — Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) proudly introduces the 2020 NAWRB Women Housing Ecosystem Report (WHER), the fourth installment of the most diverse coverage of the Housing Ecosystem with over sixty resources in six volumes: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Real Estate, Business Ownership, STEM, Access to Capital, and Aging Population with a gender lens perspective.

eBooks & Other Resources


The following ebooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Wise Women Invest in Real Estate (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.

Own It!: The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008) HF 5438 M97

Single Woman's Guide to Real Estate (Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2006) HF 5438 R18s

Buying Solo: The Single Woman' Guide to Buying a First Home (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2005) HF 5438 Su6

Redesigning the American Dream: the Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2002) HD 7293 H39

Americans and Their Homes: Demographics of Homeownership (Ithaca, NY: New Strategist Publications, 1998) HD 1341 R91

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