Learn how more and more single women are able to buy homes
Home buying by single women has skyrocketed over the past ten years. Single women are responsible for more than one third of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994, and more than 20% of all home buyers today are single woman. That is twice as many single women as single men buying homes.
Why are single women buying homes more than single men these days? While there is no single overriding factor, the increased success of women in the work force has opened up opportunities for women to buy homes on their own. The stability of home ownership is an important factor, as is the attraction of building equity.
Factors impacting the growth of women home buyers
Another important factor contributing to the growth of women home owners has been the increased availability of mortgage financing through the removal of discriminatory barriers from the past.
Barriers for Home Buying Single Women As late as the 1980's, women of child-bearing age were routinely declined for mortgage loans. Bankers would justify their denial by claiming that any woman who could get pregnant and have a child would have to stop working and as a result might default on their loan. Even if a woman was married, her income would be excluded from qualifying calculations and married couples would have to get approved solely on the husband's income. If you are a woman reading this, you are probably outraged and justifiably so.
Anti-discrimination laws put into place in the 1960s and 1970s put protections into place for women that over time eliminated discrimination for women borrowers. As with any new laws, implementation and training of mortgage lending employees took time to institutionalize the changes.
American society also underwent a major shift from the one-earner household where the husband worked and the wife stayed home to raise kids. Today, most women work whether they are married or not and whether they have children or not. Child care is also less of an issue as in the past. For women who do have children, there are multiple child care options available.
Alimony as a source of income for single women home buyers For women who have experienced a divorce or separation, mortgage lending guidelines have also standardized the process for analyzing alimony and child support income. Borrowers who have a court order specifying income will be received for at least the next three years, combined with proof of receipt of that income over the past six months can use that income to qualify for a loan.
While all of those changes have helped create a level playing field for both women and minority borrowers over the past thirty years, the most important equalizer has been the development of automated underwriting (AU) systems. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) all use automated underwriting systems that give everyone equal treatment.
AU systems only look at the key financial and credit data of a borrower and property to determine whether or not a loan is approved. AU systems look at income, assets, debts, property values and credit scores to determine whether or not a borrower is qualified for a specific loan amount.
Since there is no human intervention in the approval process except to verify the data entered into the AU system, intentional discrimination is difficult if not impossible. Combined with the extremely competitive nature of today's mortgage market, women borrowers now have full and complete access to mortgage credit markets.