Jan 23, 2024 - Real Estate

Single women are winning in Oregon's housing market

Share of housing units owned and occupied by single women, 2021
Data: LendingTree; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

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

Driving the news: Census data shows more than 12% of homes in Oregon are owned by single women, compared to over 9% by single men.

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.

State of play: 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.

Zoom in: What makes Oregon's market especially attractive to first-time single women buyers is affordability, Rachel Freed, owner of Urban Nest Realty, told Axios.

  • "It is still possible to find a small home here for $375,000 to $450,000 that is fairly close-in," she said. "That's a bargain when it comes to detached homes in a metropolitan area."
  • Easy access to downtown from many of Portland's neighborhoods also sets it apart.

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

  • Urban Institute researcher Jung Hyun Choi told Axios that the increase was driven mainly by married households.
  • In married households, 43% said they were 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 Research Center's 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.

  • Nearly 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.
  • 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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