By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
A friend told me that, when he was young, his single mother tried to get a loan to buy a house, but all the banks turned her down. In spite of persistent discrimination, more and more single women have become homeowners in recent decades. By 2019 25% of single women were homeowners. But the pandemic hit women hard, as they suffered the most job losses. Women also took on most child-care responsibilities, often quitting jobs to do so. Since Covid hit them so hard and home prices have risen so fast, single women have bought few houses in the past two years.
Owning a home enables us to build wealth. By the time homeowners pay off their mortgages, their house is often their most valuable asset. As they approach retirement, 70% of single women’s wealth is in their homes. Houses account for much more of single women’s wealth than single men’s wealth or married couple’s wealth.
Although Covid is fading, skyrocketing home prices make homeownership seem impossible for many. Nearly 60 percent of single women who are heads of households say they can’t afford to buy a house and can’t imagine how they ever could. With soaring inflation, as evidenced by rapidly rising rents and gas prices, many single women can’t even imagine starting to save for a down payment on a home.
Are you renting or do you own a home? If you own a home, how long ago did you buy it and how did you save enough for the down payment?
For more information on the challenges that women face, the housing market, and wealth accumulation, click on the following links: