Mortgage over marriage: more single women are leaning into homeownership

by Kasi Johnston03 Mar 2020

When it comes to homeownership, a new report finds the future is becoming increasingly female.

A growing number of single women are entering the housing market earlier than their single male counterparts, according to a new report released by real estate tech companies Better.com and Compass.

Over the last year, the mortgage arm of Better.com saw more than four-times more single women between 30 and 40 who make between $10,000 and $20,000 a month looking at getting into homeownership. They also saw a five-fold increase in single minority women independent borrowers. Turns out, the single, female demographic is also quite prepared to take on the responsibility. They boast an average credit score of 767.

“More women are feeling comfortable with the idea of homeownership no matter their relationship status, and it’s partly to do with how technology has impacted the process,” said Tanya Hayre, head of public relations at Better.com

Taking things like the wage gap between men and women into consideration, the report states that women are denied mortgages at higher rates than men and on average, wind up selling their homes for less money. Online fintech companies were found to discriminate 40% less than loan officers who make face-to-face decisions, according a paper by National Bureau of Economic Research. Technology is playing a part in evening the playing field by not only removing inefficiencies from the process, but also by helping to empower women who historically have been discriminated against.

“There’s something about being able to go through this process online, compared to having to walk into a brick-and-mortar location to try and get financing, especially when you already know the cards are kind of stacked against you,” said Hayre.

Some of the best cities for single women to buy homes, according to Better.com data include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Denver, respectively.

The report also found that more married women are being listed as the primary source of income when buying a home with their partners. Over the past year, Better.com reported the majority of women who are married co-borrowers out earn their male partners with an average monthly salary of $5,666 compared with just over $3000 for men. In some cases, women leave their male partners off the mortgage application entirely. The report found 1 in 3 women who secured a loan from Better.com in the last year did not put their spouse on the application.

“Women are often dissuaded from participating in the home purchasing process. The rise of digital in real estate has empowered individuals, regardless of gender, marital status or race, to apply for loans from the convenience of their mobile device,” said Sarah Pierce, head of sales at Better.com

With International Women’s Day approaching, Better.com and Compass wanted to empower women who are currently renting by showing it is possible to own a home. Not only are more women being approved for loans and getting into homeownership, but more women are also getting into the digital mortgage business.

“More than half of our loan officers are women. It’s something that we are proud of and excited about,” said Hayre.