Single women are buying more houses than single men, but they’re paying more for it, too.
Single women have closed one gender gap just to open another. According to a new analysis from loan marketplace LendingTree, single women own more homes than single men do—about 1.5 million more, to be exact.
But while single women may win out on homeownership rates in general, they don’t come out on top financially.
In fact, according to a new study from Yale, single women are buying homes for an average of 2% more than their single male counterparts. They’re also selling those homes for 2% less. On a $250,000 home, that amounts to $5,000 either way.
When mortgages are taken into effect, single men earn about 6 percentage points more in annual returns from their home purchases. This gap is largest in areas with high levels of education, high incomes, and elevated home prices.
The reasons behind the divergence vary, but according to the study, location, timing, choice of initial listing price and negotiating skills all play a role.
“We find that women purchase properties when they are listed at higher relative prices and also choose to list for lower relative prices,” the study explains. “In addition, women negotiate worse discounts relative to the listing price.”
The study also suggests that men tend to choose properties with “characteristics naturally associated with higher returns” and that men are more prone to buy risky properties, which often offer a higher return in exchange for that risk. They also tend to invest more in housing maintenances and upgrades.
Considering single females made up 17% of all homebuyers last year (compared to just a 9% share for single males), the gap in housing returns could mean a widening wealth gap between the cohorts.
As the study explains, “This gender gap is likely to be an important contributor to gender differences in wealth accumulation and welfare, given that housing wealth represents the dominant form of savings for most U.S. households.”
According to LendingTree, there’s currently not a single metro where single men own more homes than single women. Tampa, Fla. claims the biggest share of single female homeowners at 16.4%.