Feb 12, 2024 - News

Single women are winning Tennessee 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 — in Tennessee and nationwide.

Why it matters: Sixty years ago, women couldn't get a credit card or a mortgage without a male co-signer. Now, the share of single women homeowners eclipses 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 statuses 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 shows single women own more than 13% of Tennessee's homes, compared to 10% of single men.

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

What they're saying: There is a strong shift toward women-led households, Urban Institute researcher Jung Hyun Choi tells Axios.

By the numbers: Women were the primary breadwinners in less than a third of total households (married and single) in 1990. In 2021, the majority (51%) were women-headed.

  • That increase was mainly 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 mothers also face low homeownership rates compared to other groups, including single fathers, Choi's research shows.
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