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Women Be Shopping for Houses

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors research group, single women represented 18 percent of the total homebuyers in 2019, versus a mere nine percent of single men.

by Katie Way
Feb 14 2020, 6:59pm

Photo by Dreet Production via Getty Images

Even without the trappings of the American Dream, home ownership is totally still attainable… if you’re a woman, that is. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors research group, single women represented 18 percent of the total homebuyers in 2019, versus a mere 9 percent of single men. Um, OK, nevertheless she persisted… in becoming part of the landed gentry!

Two-and-a-half kids, the loving spouse, the sweet little home in the ‘burbs with a nice white picket fence so the golden retriever (Daniel!) and run around the yard without a leash on. Family life, happiness, idyllic Americana: We were culturally conditioned to want it, then realized that economic instability meant we’d never have it. Marriage rates are at a record low in a decades-long decline; kids are an iffy prospect given the whole “planet is burning” thing; and we are hurting our pets by exposing them to toxic chemicals.

And according to an article from NBC News, this gender gap in homeownership is no accident: Single women were more likely to buy property than single men because "women tend to be more conservative, which is good when buying a house," Nicole Middendorf, a financial advisor and “certified divorce financial analyst” told NBC News. "Men often try to stretch it, but women, being more risk-averse, don't stretch themselves to buy a home they can't afford."

Given the fact that buying a house is inherently risky, this logic doesn’t totally click: Wouldn’t risk aversion make single women less likely to buy a home? Wouldn’t it make the apparently dummy single men more likely to buy property and take on a mortgage they can’t afford, rather than halving their housing market participation?

The article also cites divorce rates (Classic post-divorce move: Buy a house alone!), the fact that women are more likely to start their own businesses than their male counterparts (Totally obliterating the pay gap, or… not), and the choice to get married and have kids later in life as positive factors in single lady home ownership.

If NBC wants to operate on the stereotypical gender binary, though, we must consult the anecdotal/meme evidence: what would a single man even put in a house? An uncovered mattress? A Blender Bottle? Fortnite? Maybe single women, socially conditioned to be homemakers, are simply more prepared to live solo, with all of the responsibilities that entails, while men are satisfied entering middle age with a couple of roommates.

Per the National Realtors Association report, the home-buying population remains remarkably homogeneous: white, straight, and affluent, with the majority of home purchasers making between $85,000 and $124,999 a year. So, while slight demographic shifts are definitely interesting from a trend perspective, maybe the new numbers are more worthy of a Pelosi hand-clap than a full-on “YAS, QUEEN!”

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Tagged:
women
Pay Gap
home ownership