Fifty years ago, it was difficult for a woman to get a mortgage without a male co-signer, but today, more women than ever before are buying homes on their own rather than with a partner. Studies show that single women in both the U.S. and Canada are purchasing houses and condos at more than twice the rate of single men, making them the second-largest homebuyer demographic after married couples.
There are many reasons why single women are increasingly buying property. For one, despite the persistence of the gender wage gap, women are earning higher salaries than in the past. They’re also marrying less and later in life, which means they’re more likely to buy their first home on their own.
Single women buying homes are often high-earning professionals who want to invest in property that will gain value, instead of renting. Others are single mothers who are looking to buy a permanent home in which to raise their children. Older women are also buying property, often when downsizing after retirement, a divorce or the death of a spouse.
Single women still face some obstacles on the housing market. The average woman’s annual salary is still more than $10,000 less than the average man’s salary, which disadvantages women when saving for down payments. Plus, single women often don’t have the financial resources to compete with bids from dual-income households.
Overall, however, research suggests that single women are poised to become an increasingly dominant segment of the real estate market in the coming years.