That old picture of the American Dream — the breadwinner husband who makes the financial decisions, the 2.5 kids, and the white picket fence — is becoming more and more dated. Apart from falling marriage rates and birth rates in the US, the “husband as financial provider” is perhaps the least relevant part of that picture anymore.
Because it turns out that women are buying a lot of homes these days.
According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2021 single women purchased nearly double the number of homes single men did. Women made up 20% of first-time homebuyers, compared to single men with only an 11% share of the market.
This increase in women’s home buying has garnered global attention and is even being celebrated this March 7th as part of the United Nations’ International Women’s Day.
What does this all mean for women?
Why the shift from homemaker to homeowner?
Any time statistics shift, there is an economist somewhere working on a theory.
Some economists will tell you that the reason so many women are buying homes is that women tend to be risk-averse. Maybe we’ll just label it as “security-keen” and leave it at that.
But insight into single women and homeownership is also intrinsically tied to the changing institution of marriage. As people marry later in life, the idea of renting an apartment looks less and less attractive. Entrepreneurial women want to start building equity. Besides, it’s no longer a given that everyone will partner up: marriage rates are dropping. In this financial (and relationship) market, it just makes sense to go it solo.
On the other hand, some single women homeowners have exited their marriages. In divorce proceedings, it’s common to see women leaving in possession of the home.
It’s also worth noting that these gains for women and homeownership come despite a significant pay gap. Women still only earn about 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, and it’s worse for Black and Latinx women.
But that gap is slowly narrowing over time — possibly because of the increased educational gains for women. According to the Brookings Institute, men are now receiving about 74 bachelor’s degrees for every 100 earned by a woman.
The writing’s on the wall — literally. As women get more degrees, close the pay gap, and challenge the traditional marriage timeline, we see more women buying homes.
That’s cause for celebration.
Will the pandemic affect homeownership?
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the real estate market, hit the banks, and upended our education system. It remains to be seen if we’ll course-correct back to the way things were, or if the pandemic will set women back long-term.
One thing is clear: the pandemic has disproportionately affected working women. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen large numbers of women dropping out of the workforce to fulfill the increased need for family caregiving. Women also tend to be involved in the industries hardest hit by the pandemic— like the food and hospitality sectors.
All we can do is keep calm and carry on. The pandemic will likely affect female homeownership short term, but it’s unclear what the long-term repercussions will be.
What are the challenges of homeownership?
With no stereotypical wrench- or drill-wielding husband to help fix and maintain the home, what should women do when they find themselves in the role of maintenance man? The learning curve for new homeowners is a sharp one and doubly challenging when women are choosing to go it alone.
Right away, new homeowners need to get on a regular system of seasonal home maintenance and get proactive about the small DIY repairs that will save them money in the long term. It’s a good idea to check out energy-efficient windows in order to save money on utility bills. Plus, high-quality windows can help keep homeowners safe from intruders.
Ready to take your investment to the next level? Contact Window Nation today for a free quote on replacement windows with expert installation.