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Woman Homebuyers Are Taking Charge in San Francisco

February 6, 2024

If you are a single woman homebuyer or homeowner in San Francisco, you're part of a growing trend. (Are congratulations in order? 🎉)

Seriously, the numbers show that single women lead the way in home buying and home ownership—not only in the SF Bay Area, but throughout California and all across the country.

Woman Home Buyer Demographics in the USA

Have a look at this data from the National Association of Realtors.

In 1981:

  • 73% of American home buyers were married couples
  • 11% were single women
  • 10% were single men

Today:

  • 59% are married couples
  • 19% are single women
  • 10% are single men

A lot can change in 40+ years! One easy explanation is that fewer Americans are getting married. According to census data, in 1950, fewer than one in four American adults had never been married; today, it’s greater than one in three. But that doesn’t explain why single women in particular have seen such a precipitous rise in homeownership rates, whereas men have not.

Why Are Single Women Buying More Homes?

Here are a few reasons suggested by research in the NAR article linked above.

  • Location: Significantly more women purchase to be close to friends and family.
  • Family: Single women are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in the home and more likely to purchase a multigenerational home.
  • Sacrifice: Women make more financial sacrifices to purchase a home. (As first-time buyers, women homebuyers typically purchase a home with a household income of $69,600, compared to single men at $83,800.)
  • Savings: Women are also more likely to move in with friends or family before purchasing to avoid paying rent.

Woman Homebuyer and Home Ownership rates in the San Francisco Bay Area

Let’s focus closer to home. According to a 2022 analysis by Porch.com, in the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metro area, around 46% of single women own their homes compared to 36% of single men. This trend highlights the resilience and independence of the woman homebuyer in San Francisco.

The 10% delta between women and men homeownership rates puts the SF Bay Area at #5 on the list of 50 cities with the largest gender gap (after our neighboring region San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA at #1, followed by New Orleans, San Antonio, and Tucson).

What About the Gender Pay Gap?

Looking at these numbers, you might think, “Hey, that’s great news! Women must be rolling in the dough. 💰💪” Not quite.

According to the American Association of University Women, women in San Francisco earn an annual median of $13,000 less than men. (And these numbers are even worse for women of color.) In 2022, Zillow estimated that the average woman in SF could afford only 2% of the city’s homes, while the average man could afford 6%.

An image inspired by 'Rosie the Riveter' and tailored to the theme of a woman homebuyer. It features a single woman in the iconic pose, holding keys to symbolize her homeownership, set against a stylized background representing the  single woman homebuyer in San Francisco housing market.
Single woman homebuyers lead the way in San Francisco (and actually everywhere).

Empowering Single Woman Homebuyers in San Francisco

Despite earning less, single women are making substantial financial sacrifices to achieve homeownership. With an eye on the future, women often prioritize savings, down payments from the sale of previous homes, and financial planning over immediate gratification. This approach has enabled many single women to succeed in the competitive and often unaffordable SF Bay Area housing market.

The surge in female homeownership is a reflection of deeper societal changes, with women leading the way. (As always! 🙆‍♀️) It's something to celebrate, but we also recognize the ongoing challenges and continue to support the empowerment of every woman on her real estate journey.

If you have questions about buying a home in San Francisco, or anything else real estate related, reach out to our (woman-owned) real estate team. Since 2002, we’ve been helping San Franciscans of all stripes to make smart personal real estate decisions. Click here to contact us.

PS. While you’re here, why not sign up for our Vivre Real Estate newsletter and stay up to date? Get valuable San Francisco real estate market insights, top SF Realtor tips, plus curated local stories and events, delivered straight to your inbox—no spam or games. Share your email below and keep in touch!

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