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where women are buying homes
About 1.25 million mortgages were approved for homebuyers without cosigners in 2018. Of those, roughly 500,000 were approved for women, and close to 750,000 were approved for men. Though nationally women’s approved mortgages made up only about two-thirds of men’s approved mortgages, women are buying more homes than men in some metro areas.

In this study, we identified some of the metro areas where women are buying the most homes relative to men. Using 2018 data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), we compared the number of approved mortgages for women to the number of approved mortgages for men. For more information on our data sources and how we created the final ranking, check out our Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s third annual study of where women are buying homes. Check out last year’s version here.

Key Findings

  • The number of women buying homes relative to men has increased. In last year’s study, Ithaca, New York was the only metro area where women without cosigners bought more homes than men without cosigners, by a margin of less than 1%. However, in this year’s study, women bought more homes than men in nine metro areas of the total 400. In fact, in The Villages, Florida, our top-ranking metro area in this year’s study, women  bought 15% more homes than men.
  • Metro areas in New Mexico and North Carolina rank high. Of our top 10 metro areas where women are buying the most homes relative to men, New Mexico and North Carolina each claim two spots: The Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Fayetteville and Burlington areas comprise four of the nine places where women were approved for more mortgages than men.
  • In the Northeast, men are still buying homes at much higher rates than women. No metro area in our top 10 is located in the Northeast. In fact, according to Census Bureau divisions, of the top 25 places where women are buying homes at higher or similar rates to men, only two metro areas – Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont at No. 16 and Ithaca, New York at No. 23 – are in the Northeast.

1. The Villages, FL

In 2018, women without cosigners bought 62 more homes than men without cosigners in the Villages, Florida. In total, women bought 468 homes while men bought 406 homes. As a result, approved mortgages for women as a percentage of approved mortgages for men were more than 115%, the highest rate across all 400 metro areas in our study. The Villages also ranks No. 1 in our study on the cities where seniors are prepared for retirement.

2. Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe, comes in at No. 2 in this year’s study on where women are buying the most homes compared to men. Specifically, 376 mortgages were approved for women in 2018, while 330 were approved for men. Though the number of mortgages for women outpaces the number for men, the average loan amount for men was higher. Data from the CFPB’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act database shows that the average loan amount for men buying a home was more than $330,000, while the average loan amount for women was roughly $274,000.

3. Springfield, IL

In 2018, 491 mortgages were approved for women in Springfield, Illinois – the highest number of any metro area in our top 10. With 456 mortgages approved for men in the same year, women’s mortgages as a percentage of men’s mortgages were about 108%. Mortgage loans in Springfield were much lower on average than mortgage loans in Santa Fe, the second metro area in our top 10. The average loan amounts for men and women buying homes in Springfield were about $123,000 and $112,000, respectively.

4. Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces, New Mexico is about 300 miles south of Santa Fe. During the 2018 calendar year, a total of 619 mortgages were approved for homebuyers in Las Cruces. A majority of those, 314 to be exact, were for women homebuyers without cosigners.

5. Walla Walla, WA

Women bought homes in Walla Walla, Washington at a rate almost 3% higher than men in 2018. In gross terms, women without cosigners there bought 108 homes over the course of the year while men without cosigners bought a total of 105 homes. Of those homebuyers, women received an average loan of about $200,000 while men received an average loan of close to $230,000, which is almost 15% more.

6. Fayetteville, NC

A total of 729 mortgages were approved for individuals without cosigners in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2018. Of those, 369 were approved for women and 360 were approved for men.

A financial advisor can often help in the home buying process. Take a look at our list of the top financial advisors in Fayetteville, if you are considering buying a home there.

7. Carson City, NV

Though women bought more homes than men in Carson City, Nevada in 2018, the average loan amount of those homes was much smaller for women than for men. The average loan amount for women was about $227,000 relative to almost $269,000 for men, or about 18% higher.

8. Medford, OR

Of the 943 mortgages approved for individuals without cosigners in Medford, Oregon in 2018, five more were approved for women (474) than approved for men (469). This makes women’s mortgages as a percentage of men’s approximately 101%. Average loan amounts for women in Medford, however, were about 9% lower than average loan amounts for men. The average loan amount for women was $248,801 and the average loan amount for men was $271,148.

9. Burlington, NC

Women and men in Burlington, North Carolina had similar rates of buying homes in 2018 and were approved for mortgages of similar amounts. Specifically, 442 mortgages were approved for women without a cosigner and 439 mortgages were approved for men without a cosigner. The average loan amount for women was about $154,000 for women and close to $156,000 for men.

10. Iowa City, IA

Similar numbers of mortgages were approved in Iowa City, Iowa in 2017 and 2018. In last year’s study, we found that 448 mortgages were approved for women and 553 mortgages were approved for men in 2017. In this year’s study, 487 mortgages were approved women and 500 mortgages were approved for men in 2018. Iowa City also cracks the top 10 in our studies on the best cities for working parents and the least-stressed cities in America.

Data and Methodology

To find the places where women are buying the most homes relative to men, we looked at data for 400 metro areas. We compared them across the following two metrics:

  • Number of mortgages originated to women in 2018.
  • Number of mortgages originated to men in 2018.

Data for both metrics comes from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act database.

For each metric, we counted only mortgages that were used to purchase homes rather than refinance an existing mortgage or those used for home improvements. We also only included convention first lien mortgages. To isolate homes bought by men and homes bought by women, we additionally only analyzed home loans secured by people without a cosigner.

To rank metro areas, we divided the number of mortgages originated to women by the number of mortgages originated to men in 2018. We then ranked places based on this figure.

Home Buying Tips for Solo Shoppers

  • Make sure you can handle a mortgage. A mortgage is a big commitment, especially if you don’t have a cosigner, so be certain you’ll be able to afford whatever you’ll end up having to pay. Use SmartAsset’s mortgage calculator to see the ideal range in which you should be shopping.
  • Understand additional costs. Though a mortgage is typically the largest expense for homeowners, other costs like closing costs, property taxes and home insurance can add up. Our comprehensive home buying guide has a property tax calculator, budget calculator and many informative articles that can help you make smart decisions regarding housing.
  • Consider a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money, an important thing for those investing in the housing market. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/StockRocket

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
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