Top 10 Cities Where Women Are Securing Mortgages

Single women are the homebuying group that won’t slow down; there is no doubt about that. Although one question is, where exactly are these female homeowners?

By HOM Editorial Team
May 2020

Women are certainly purchasing homes all over the U.S, but cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, and a handful more have been extremely popular with this demographic as of late. While 67% of homebuyers are married couples, when it comes to single buyers, women outperform men. According to NAR’s 2019 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 18% of homebuyers were single women, whereas only 9% of homebuyers were single men.

As seen in the graph below, single women overshadow single men when it comes to home buying. Most recent homeowners are still married couples, leading with 63% of homebuyers overall. Although, in comparison to the ’80s, when 81% of homebuyers were married couples, they’re not so high on the charts anymore. A mortgage consultant with Right Trac Financial Group, Joe Petrowsky, shares that 26% of his business is with single women and he has no doubt that it will exceed 30% soon. Petrowsky continues to share his thoughts that single women represent solid risks in part because “the reality is they have a better ability to save and plan for the future” than most single men.

Interactive

This is an interactive chart. Hover over values.

A Redfin agent in the D.C region, Leslie White, says that for single women, homeownership means “stability — you own it, you’re in charge, there is no landlord,” and that is very meaningful to them. White shares that out of her last 25 purchases, 20% were made by single women and zero by single men. According to data from Better and Compass, here are the top 10 cities where single women are getting mortgages.

“More and more single women have been buying homes, and I expect to see this continue in 2020. Women are more career-focused now than previous generations, and we want to be smart with our money and make an investment that sets ourselves up for the future…”
— Beatrice de Jong, REALTOR®
1. Atlanta

 There is certainly something eye-catching about Atlanta, as more female homebuyers are buying homes here than anywhere else in the country. Aside from top-notch BBQ and fried chicken and waffles, Atlanta offers potential homeowners a sense of culture, comfort, and affordable living. With a median home value of $288,746, it’s possible for those of all ages, including single women, to purchase a home in the area.

For example, 25-year-old Kelcie Evans purchased her home last year with the help of Invest Atlanta, an economic development agency in the city. This agency offers a home-buying assistance program to those whose income falls beneath a certain amount. With the help of her broker, Kelcie was able to receive a total of $40,000 in down-payment assistance from both Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority. With such a helpful and supportive community, it’s no wonder Atlanta is the number one spot for female homeowners.

2. Los Angeles

La-La Land has been a dreamy destination for most for a long time now. Whether those are attracted to the bountiful sunshine, entertainment industry, vibrant nightlife, or incredible beaches, there has always been something for everyone, including homeownership. Of Los Angeles’s 2,105,366 owner-occupied homes, 460,273 are owned by single women, reaching 21.86%. In other words, single women in L.A. own 197,7000 more homes than single men.

An L.A. based REALTOR and consumer trends expert at Opendoor, Beatrice de Jong, has been taking note of the career-focused single women who have been seeking a new home in the metropolis as of late. Beatrice shares, “More and more single women have been buying homes, and I expect to see this continue in 2020. Women are more career-focused now than previous generations, and we want to be smart with our money and make an investment that sets ourselves up for the future, rather than relying on marriage or waiting for a man to provide the life we want.”

3. Chicago

This city making it to number three on the list didn’t shock Julie Harron, a Chicago real estate broker. Throughout her 27-year career, she exclaims that even when working with couples, women were more often the primary decision-makers. She shares, “I have worked with women who have lost spouses or are divorced…and younger women who know where they are in their careers and are financially stable are making concrete property decisions.”

The Windy City made this list for the high percentage of women applying for loans and receiving them. Based on a Lending Tree study, single women in Chicago own 312,997 homes, while single men only own around 213,000 homes.

4. Seattle

The female-dominated housing industry isn’t too new to Seattle, considering as of October 2018 there were more single female homebuyers than males in the state of Washington. Back in July of 2017, a survey conducted by NAR expressed that while married couples still accounted for the majority of home buying in the state, single women purchased more homes than their single male counterparts.

If you’re a single woman with a love of lush forests and life-changing coffee, Seattle is likely the perfect place to start your life and become a homeowner. While the median home price is certainly not low—at $758,200—the median income measures up at $93,481. That median income also has a 7.67% growth rate which shows excellent hope for the future of professionals at any age in Seattle.

5. Denver

Amongst the Rocky Mountains and a slew of craft breweries, a humble city sits here in Colorado. For a thriving city, Denver has a surprisingly low median home value of $457,580. Another good sign for this city is the home value growth. Over this past year, this city’s home value has gone up 1% and Zillow estimates it will rise 4% within the upcoming year.

About three years back, Owners, an online real estate brokerage, compiled a list of the 20 best places for single women to purchase a home based on an analysis, and Denver made the list. Today Denver is on this list of top ten places women are getting mortgages, which means single women are continuously purchasing homes in the Mile-High City.

6. San Francisco

As Lonely Planet says, San Francisco is “a bridge between cultures,” and they’re certainly not wrong. Having been a popular destination for decades, this vibrant city offers unique architecture, cool summers, and energetic culture. While SF is a very expensive city to live in — with a median home value of $1,436,145 — that doesn’t seem to deter successful single women from purchasing a home in the City by the Bay. Based on data from Trulia, the median price for a home in the area rose that high from just $420,000 in the year 2000, which is a 329% increase. Despite this spike in the region’s housing market, single women “comprise 12.1% of the market share compared to single men’s 7.6%.” That’s quite a disparity, so let’s give it up for women!

For those who are hesitant to take the step towards homeownership in this pricey area, Jamie Chappell, who recently closed on a home in San Francisco, makes a great point that your first home doesn’t need to be your last. She shares, “A lot of my friends will say, ‘I want to own a home but I like my freedom…one friend said to me, ‘It doesn’t have to be forever.’ And that really stuck with me.”

7. Washington, DC

As the capital of the United States, Washington DC is a cultural epicenter with an abundance of museums, landmarks, and monuments. With such a diverse job market and a rather healthy unemployment rate of 5.4%, there are a plethora of job opportunities just waiting for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since last January two sectors in the Washington area gained between 6,000 and 10,000 jobs.

While it was about seven years ago now, Amanda Cowley purchased her first home in DC after moving out of her 800-square-foot condo. “I realized I was sitting around waiting to get married and move out of my condo,” she shared. “And then it started to get really depressing to be there for that reason. I was like, ‘This was an awesome place to live in when I’m 30, but if I’m still here when I’m 45, it’s done.’ Like, I’m gonna get 12 cats and give up.” Today, the current home value in Washington DC is $637,738 and it is projected to grow 4.1% within the next year. With growth like that, now is the time to start your house hunting in DC.

8. San Diego

Not only is San Diego a hot spot for single women homebuyers, but also for young homebuyers in general. While the median age of today’s single female homebuyer is 54, San Diego is expected to have one of the “biggest fraction of people hitting that median first-time buyer age, 34, than anywhere else in the country,” says Zillow economist Jeff Tucker.

While San Diego has a median home value of $669,939, there are many organizations such as The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), which offer grants, mortgage credit certificates, and deferred loans to help both single people and families buy their first homes. With a nickname as bold as America’s Finest City, what’s stopping you from heading to this coastal town and starting the next chapter of your life?

9. Houston

If you’re a single woman looking to purchase your first home, grab your cowboy hat and head to Texas! Houston is an up and coming city that still has a very affordable housing market, with a median home value of just $191,161, and Zillow predicts this value will rise 3.6% into the upcoming year.

The City With No Limits doesn’t just have delicious crawfish, chicken-fried steak, and breakfast tacos to offer, but a very secure job market as well. According to Indeed, “The Houston, TX job market is strong compared to the rest of the US. Over the last year, job postings in Houston, TX have declined by 19% relative to a national decline of 32%.” Considering Houston’s affordable housing paired with the steady job market, this lively city is ideal for someone looking to relocate and settle down.

10. Oakland

Just beside San Francisco sits its humble neighbor, Oakland. This city has always been a great option for those who can’t afford SF and has increasingly become more walkable and hip. It doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, as it is a thriving unique city of its own with a population of 400,000 matching Miami.

Oakland has a median home value vastly lower than its counterpart SF, at $786,036. According to Zillow, homes in the area have gone up “5.9% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 5.7% within the next year.” With an average rental list price of $3,000, it almost seems silly not to consider homeownership soon.

As Erin Thompson, a Compass agent in San Francisco says, “If you have the financial ability to make it happen, why wait to buy one of the best appreciating assets? Don’t pay someone else’s mortgage when you can pay your own.” These ten cities where women are getting mortgages show us how prominent single women will be in the housing market in years to come. Rather than putting marriage on the top of the list, single women are bumping matrimony down and putting homeownership at the top.

Other agents in large cities, such as Danielle Lurie in NYC, express similar thoughts based on their clients, “More and more of our clients are single women who have high-powered and high-paying jobs and can afford nicely sized mortgages.”

Today, across the U.S., one in five homebuyers are single women. At this rate, within the next year, we very well could be looking at even more single women taking over the housing market. One important thing to remember: homeownership is possible. As a recent homebuyer in Avondale, Victoria Kent, says, “I am proud of being a homeowner — I never thought I would do it. I wish I would have known the process wasn’t as scary as I thought, because I would’ve started sooner.”


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