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Single Women Lead the Charge in Homebuying


In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, and International Women’s Day on 8 March, we’re celebrating the 30-year trend of women being power players in the housing market.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination in homebuying, homeownership, and real estate rentals on the basis of sex, race, religion and a number of other protected classes, was one of the first federal laws that opened fair access for women to own and rent homes.

However, women still couldn’t apply for loans or credit without a male co-signer, and they faced higher interest rates and larger down payments.

That legally changed in 1974 with the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which granted women the right to apply for loans and credit. However, the road to homeownership was still steep because of income inequalities. Women of color also faced decades of race-related housing discrimination.

“Nevertheless, She Persisted”

By 1982, women were earning 65% of men’s wages in terms of hourly wages, however, more single women were buying homes than single men. Since then, women’s homeownership gains have continued. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), single women have been second only to married couples in the homebuying market since NAR started data collection on the topic in 1981.

In 1981, 73% of homebuyers were married couples, 11% were single women and 10% were single men. Today, those shares stand at 63% married couples, 19% single women, and 9% single men.

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”

Today, homeownership by women is so common that many may not be aware of the historic homebuying barriers those who came before them had to overcome. A recent analysis by LendingTree found that in the United States, single women own about 2.64 million more homes than single men, although it should be noted they also have a longer life expectancy so they may have purchased with a spouse. Notably, single women homebuyers emerge as a demographic with a distinctive profile, often characterized by a maturity that surpasses their male counterparts. This demographic tends to be older, reflecting a trend where women are opting for homeownership as a means of securing their future and asserting financial independence. NAR also notes that according to Yale research, single women pay 2% more when buying a house and sell it for 2% less, so there is still some ground to be made up.

Yet, the evolving landscape of homeownership reflects a paradigm shift in societal norms, with an increasing number of women embracing homeownership without the traditional trappings of marriage. CNBC reports that a staggering 65% of women express a willingness to purchase a home independently, signaling a departure from traditional familial structures and embracing autonomy in financial decision-making.

Related: AMS Helps Veteran Finally Use Her Home Loan Entitlement

Putting Down Roots

Single women currently in or retiring from the military are emerging as a notable segment driving trends in homeownership among AAFMAA Members. We met Jackie Iverson in 2020. A former automated logistics specialist, Iverson had lived in many places and wanted to leave the “nomad lifestyle” of her military life behind and put down some permanent roots. Continuing to live in Washington, DC, with its soaring home prices, was not an option, she said. She did a lot of research to decide the best location for her “last” move. She wanted a scaled-down version of big-city life — somewhere with an airport and cultural hub, but also with open space to explore; somewhere already attracting businesses and new residents that would continue to flourish and prosper. After some careful consideration, she chose Atlanta, Georgia to put down roots.

Iverson reached out to the AMS North Carolina office and worked with our team to get in the best position for a great interest rate. Within a short time, she purchased a three-bedroom single-family home in an Atlanta suburb.

Because Iverson has a service-connected disability, she saved about $10,000 in VA funding fees (generally 1.40% to 2.30% for borrowers using VA Home Loan benefits for the first time) and did not have to pay Georgia state taxes on the loan.

“You Go, Girl”

The rise of women homebuyers and homeowners has taken decades to fulfill its current strong standing, but it continues, and is worth celebrating year-round. Single women, including those in or retiring from the military, are at the forefront of this paradigm shift, driving significant trends and redefining conventional notions of homeownership. AAFMAA Members approach homebuying with a strategic mindset and unwavering determination. Their unique career background, including frequent relocations and deployments, often necessitated agile decision-making and adept navigation in new surroundings.

We are not surprised that when they put their mind to qualifying for and owning a home, they “just do it.”

Resource: The National Association of Realtors has curated a list of useful websites for women homebuyers.

We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re thinking about buying, ready to start home-shopping in earnest, or considering a refinance, an AMS Military Mortgage Advisor will be happy to provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of affordable mortgages designed to meet your needs.

Ensuring AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today or give us a call at 844-422-3622!