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Field Guide to Women Homebuyers

(Updated January 2013)

According to the State of the Nations Housing: 2009 report, compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “social and economic trends have given women a more powerful presence in housing markets. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of households headed by unmarried women increased by almost 10 million.” The same study, however, also states that, “because women still earn less on average than men do, they are more likely to face housing problems than either married-couple households or households headed by unmarried men.”

This Field Guide contains books, websites, statistics, reports and journal articles on women and new homeownership trends, home buying needs and special issues concerning women and financing. (D. Winchester, Information Specialist)

Statistics on Women and Homeownership

Interestingly, single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (23 and 15 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent).

Twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.

More women (15.5 million) than men (11.8 million) lived alone. Among these, women were more likely than men to own their homes (56% vs. 47%).

About one-quarter of the nation's nearly eight million single mothers spend more than half of their incomes on housing, compared with one-tenth of households headed by single fathers.

Over the time period of 1994-2002, the number of unmarried females owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.

Sources: 2014 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2014) and The State of the Nation's Housing: 2012, (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2012).

Women & Homeownership Trends

Single, female and shopping for a home, (MSN Real Estate, Jan. 29, 2013).

Guess Who's Driving the Demand for Rental Apartments?, (CNBC, Jan. 29, 2013).

Here's Some Advice For All The Single Ladies Flooding The Housing Market, (Business Insider, May 16, 2012)

Singles dive into the real estate market, (MSNBC, July 12, 2011).

What Women Home Buyers Want, (Builder, Jan. 14, 2011).

Women Home Buyers, a Major Economic Force in the Industry, Have a Language All Their Own, (NAHB, Aug. 23, 2010).

Single Women Home Buyers: Key to the Housing Recovery?, (AOL Real Estate, May 14, 2010).

Wanted: Single Women Home Buyers, (SmartMoney, Apr. 9, 2010).

Singles, especially women, a growing share of homebuyers, (Chicago Tribune, Feb. 28, 2010).

Women make up their mind faster when buying a home, (Inside Tucson Business, Sept. 11, 2009).

Gender differences abound in the home-buying process, (RISMedia, Sept. 1, 2009).

Single women skilled in house buying, (Washington Times, July 11, 2008).

Women homebuyers growing in number, (Ventura County Star, Jan. 27, 2008).

They're buying solo, (Newsday.com, Mar. 15, 2007).

Singles taking stride in the home buying market, (The Hammond Times, Feb. 17, 2007).

As the Nation Changes, So Do Home Buyers, (RISMedia.com, Feb. 13, 2007).

Home Repair & Construction

5 Simple Home Repair Tasks Every Woman Should Know, (Yahoo!, Nov. 29, 2010).

A Woman's Guide to Home Repair, (Yahoo!, July 16, 2010).

Women learn to handle tools of construction trade, (WLOX 13 Biloxi, Feb. 26, 2007).

Women are construction crew to help single mom build her Habitat home, (San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 24, 2007).

Financing Homeownership

First Person: Purchasing a Home as a Single Woman, (Yahoo! Finance, Feb. 3, 2012).

Women Investing in Real Estate, (NuWire, Jan. 22, 2008).

Buying a home, (Hud.gov, 2005).

Buying a home: Getting Financing, (MsMoney.com, 2005). 

Useful Websites

The State of the Nation's Housing: 2012, (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2012).

State of the nation's housing: 2011, (Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2011).

The State of the nation's housing: 2010, (Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2010).

State of the nation's housing: 2009, (Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2009).

Fair housing laws and presidential executive orders, (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2003).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following ebooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Wise women invest in real estate, (Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central.  Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10.  Call Information Central at 800.874.6500 for assistance.

Own it!: The ups and downs of homebuying for women who go it alone, (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008). HF 5438 M97

Single woman's guide to real estate, (Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2006). HF 5438 R18s

Buying solo: the single woman's guide to buying a first home, (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2005). HF 5438 Su6

Redesigning the American dream: Gender, housing, and family life, (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2002). HD 7293 H39

Americans and their homes: demographics of homeownership, (Ithaca, NY: New Strategist Publications, 1998). HD 1341 R91

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Buying vs. Renting

Field Guide to Remodeling

Field Guide to Women in Real Estate

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.