Updated Jan 23, 2024 - Business

Women are winning real estate

Share of housing units owned and occupied by single women, 2022
Data: LendingTree; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Single women own more homes than single men — and overall homeownership is now majority female.

Why it matters: Sixty years ago, women couldn't even get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner. Now, the share of single women homeowners eclipses that of single men.

Driving the news: Solo women mortgage applicants made up 18% of the market in 2023 — a share that's slowly grown since mortgage platform Maxwell started tracking applicants' gender and marital status in 2021.

  • 1 in 3 women with partners bought alone because they were in a stronger financial position to do so, Maxwell's annual Single Women Home Buyer Report found.

State of play: Single women own an average of roughly 13% of the owner-occupied homes across the 50 states, versus 10.2% among single men, per a LendingTree analysis of census data.

  • Delaware, Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest shares of single women homeowners.
  • Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a larger share of homes compared to women.

What they're saying: We're seeing a rise in the number of women homeowners — and a strong shift toward women-led households, Urban Institute researcher Jung Hyun Choi tells Axios.

By the numbers: In 1990, less than a third of total households (married and single) were headed by females. In 2021, the majority (51%) of households reported being female-headed.

  • That increase was mostly driven by married households, Choi says.
  • In married households, 43% claimed to be female-headed in 2021, compared to just 8% in 1990.

Of note: In most age groups, women outnumber men. "This is more a reflection of strength in numbers than economic vitality," Pew researcher Richard Fry tells Axios.

The other side: Opportunity isn't equal. Single Latina and Black women have the lowest homeownership rates of any group in the U.S.

  • "39% of Latinas who are single and live alone owned a home in 2021, compared to close to 62% of non-Hispanic white women in similar circumstances," Axios' Astrid Galván reports.
  • Single women with children also face low homeownership rates compared to other groups, including single men with children, Choi's research shows.

The intrigue: Maxwell's report shows Gen Zers and millennials made up the largest share of single women mortgage applicants in 2023.

Editor's note: The map has been updated with 2022 figures, the latest data available. An earlier version showed data from 2021.

Go deeper