Home Tinton Falls - Eatontown News Tinton Falls - Eatontown Business

How to fix a gender gap in the housing market

Why buying a home is more profitable for men than women
— and what women can do about it

By Erik J. Martin
CTW Features

For years, it’s been widely reported that women typically earn less in the workplace than men — as evidenced by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that females made 19 percent less than males, on average, in 2015. Now, it’s apparent there’s a housing gender gap, too, indicating that men are benefiting more from real estate than women.

According to a new study from RealtyTrac, homes owned by single men are valued 10 percent higher, on average, and have appreciated 16 percent more since their date of purchase than residences owned by single women. Since purchase, homes owned by single men, in fact, have gained nearly $64,000 — equating to a 33 percent return on the purchase price — versus an average gain of 31 percent (almost $54,000) for homes owned by single women. The report also revealed that single women tend to live in areas where there are 7 percent more registered criminal offenders per capita than single men.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of RealtyTrac, Irvine, California, says he wasn’t surprised to see a gap in the value of homes purchased by men compared to women, given the widely documented gender wage gap.

“What did surprise me was that the gap widened over time, so that the more years of homeownership, the bigger the gap in home value between homes owned by men than homes owned by women,” Blomquist says. “This happened because the homes owned by men are appreciating at a faster pace than homes owned by women.”

Blomquist attributes the study’s findings to several factors, including higher wages for men, which gives them an advantage in buying better quality homes in higher quality neighborhoods with better appreciation potential.

“Another possible reason could be discrimination against women in the mortgage and real estate industries that results in women buying lower-quality properties in lesser-quality neighborhoods that have less appreciation potential,” he says.

Discrimination against women in the mortgage lending market has been documented in several cases brought by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, says Anne Houghtaling, executive director of West Chicago-based HOPE Fair Housing Center.

“In those cases, interest rate and fees were analyzed for comparable borrowers, and it was found that higher interest rates and fees were charged to women, with African-American women paying the most,” Houghtaling says. “The bottom line is that, when someone is buying a home, their purchase power is diminished if they are paying more for their mortgage.”

Bruce Ailion, broker with RE/MAX Town and Country in Atlanta, says another possible cause behind the housing gender gap is that many women are less comfortable with conflict in negotiation “and are more willing to accept an offer than to continue to bargain for a better deal,” he says. “This can make a 1 to 2 percent difference on the acquisition.”

That plays into Phillip Petree’s theory. Petree, author of “The Man Puzzle: A Guide to Understanding Men” (Petree Publishing, 2016), says, on average, men are more long-term goal oriented while women are more security minded.

“In real estate, men will buy a house first and then fall in love with it; later they will emotionally detach from it and make it sellable, sell the home, and reap the profits. Most women tend to fall in love with the property and have an emotional attachment often before considering all the financial aspects. This approach puts women at a disadvantage before the offer is even placed,” Petree says.

To help close the housing gender gap, Blomquist recommends that women should carefully and thoroughly research her home and its neighborhood before buying and explore properties that will provide a solid wealth-building vehicle over time.

“Don’t just rely on what your agent or broker tells you when it comes to the best house and best neighborhood to buy and — do your own research to evaluate the appreciation potential of a home and the neighborhood it’s in,” Blomquist says. “Look at homeownership rates versus rental rates in that neighborhood, natural hazards that present potential risks like flooding, and other risks such as the presence of registered criminal offenders that could negatively impact the property’s resale value.”

Additionally, don’t be afraid to shop around, negotiate without letting emotions cloud your judgment and explore different financing options.

“Find out what at least three different lenders are willing to offer you for a mortgage and compare,” Houghtaling says. “Also, if you’re searching for housing and something doesn’t sound right, contact your local fair housing organization.”

© CTW Features

Exit mobile version