Gender disparity in homeownership is not news. The latest available reports in 2016 showed female-owned homes are on average valued less than male-owned homes, and appreciate at a lower rate. Some suggested income disparity correlates with homeownership disparity – makes sense.
The latest ValueInsured Modern Homebuyer Survey found a gender gap might exist not only where home values and ownership are concerned, but in homebuyer psychology and housing confidence as well - with female homebuyers’ pessimism jarring in some measures:
- Among all interested homebuyers including homeowners who plan to sell and buy another home, only 44% of all women believe the housing market is heading in a good direction “for people like me”. Male homebuyers report 59% confidence on the same measure, representing a 15 percentage-point surplus. Among non-homeowners who want to buy, only 32% of women believe the housing market is heading in a good direction for them.
- Women are less optimistic about endurance of the current hot housing market, with 54% expressing confidence a home they buy now would be worth more by the end of next year, vs. 67% of male homebuyers who believe the same.
- Consistent with the previous data point, only 52% of female homebuyers believe now is a good time to buy a home, compared to 68% of men who believe the same.
- Perhaps most alarming, just over 1 in 4 (28%) of all interested female homebuyers are confident that another housing crisis will not happen in their lifetime, compared with 44% of men who have the same confidence. Gender gap aside, this is also significant as majority of interested homebuyers in America today believe they could witness another 2008-style housing crisis.
Also noteworthy is that housing pessimism among women does not evaporate once they achieve homeownership. This suggests even after gaining home buying experience and as current homeowners, many women still lack confidence in today’s housing market. Among homeowners, women are twice as likely as men (41% vs. 20%) to believe the American housing market is currently “unhealthy”. 72% of female homeowners vs. 84% of male homeowners believe now is a good time to sell a home, however, among those who are personally interested in selling, 71% of female potential sellers are concerned with buying high after they sell, vs. 66% of male potential sellers who are concerned with the same.
Among Millennial first-time homebuyers, only 38% of women believe buying a home today is a secure and smart financial decision, vs. 52% of men who believe the same. Like their home-owning counterparts, more female Millennial first-time buyers are concerned with buying high.
To put the confidence gap in perspective, women in America actually express a higher desire to own homes than men do in ValueInsured’s survey. Among Millennials, 79% of women vs. 75% of men say they would like to buy a home. While they are equally likely to consider owning a home an important part of their American Dream, women express a higher desire to be debt-free, and stronger concerns for “risky” buying and mortgage lending. It could be the so-called “women’s intuition”, or it could be something else. Regardless, closing the gender confidence gap could only benefit the housing market, and ensure further representation in the American Dream.