Home ownership has long been tied to being part of the “American Dream,” but after the housing market collapse of 2008, many Americans are no longer seeing real estate as a good investment opportunity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 65% of Americans own their homes, the lowest it has been since 1995, and only 36.5% of people under 35 own their homes, the lowest it has been in over 30 years. A survey conducted by the Washington Post and the Miller Center has found that while most people still believe in the “American Dream,” only 61% of them view owning a home an essential part of it.
But there is one growing demographic that still sees real estate as a worthy investment — single women. Single women currently represent 16% of American homebuyers whereas single men only represent 9%. Many women are now putting marriage off until later in life and see no reason why they should wait to make a move that makes good financial sense for them now. When the New York Daily News interviewed several single women who own their apartments, a common theme was that their mortgage payments were less than what they were paying in rent and it made no sense to be paying upwards of $3,000 per month on something they don’t actually own.
One reason many single women are reluctant to buy property is that they don’t want to be stuck owning a property they might outgrow if they get married and have children. But other single women see the potential of turning their homes into rental properties if they eventually end up needing more space.
The rise in single female homeowners may be partially attributed to a slowly-shrinking wage gap between men and women. On a national level, American women still only earn an average of 79.5 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, but the gap is shrinking among women aged 25-44, who are now earning an average of 81 cents for every dollar. Therefore, younger women are starting to have more money than before to invest.