Feb 1, 2024 - News

Single women are winning North Carolina real estate

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

Sixty years ago, women couldn't get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner.

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.

  • One in three 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: Census data show 13.9% of homes in North Carolina are owned by single women, compared to 10.1% by single men.

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.

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