According to a new report by Redfin, for every dollar of home equity single men earned over five years in the U.S., single women earned just 92 cents. Redfin looked at 199,387 homes sold in 18 of the largest metros in 2012, of which 39.9 percent were purchased by single women. On those home purchases, women earned a median $171,313 of home equity over five years compared to $186,403 of equity earned by men--a difference of $15,090 or 8.1 percent.
To calculate home equity, Redfin added the initial equity from the down payment and the principal paid on the mortgage to the appreciation of the home since purchase date. Appreciation was determined by subtracting the original purchase price of the home from the current Redfin Estimate.
New Orleans, LA was the only metro where women actually earned more home equity than men. Over the five-year period, single women there earned $8,784 or 8 percent more home equity than single men. Omaha, NE was the next best with women earning 0.5 percent less equity than men. Portland, OR (0.8% less); Denver, CO (2.0% less); and Oakland, CA (2.0% less) rounded out the top five best places for single female home equity.
Of all the metros Redfin looked at, the gender equity gap was largest in Seattle, WA, where women earned 6.3 percent or $20,983 less equity over the five-year period. Columbus, OH (6.2% less); Baltimore, MD (6.2% less); San Francisco (6.0% less); and San Diego (5.8% less) topped the list of metros where single women fare worse compared to single men.
The disparity in home equity can be attributed to several different factors including the pay gap, lower down payments made by women and higher student debt among women.
"Despite differences in equity appreciation, purchasing a home can help level the playing field between men and women," said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. "Homeownership remains the single biggest engine for middle-class workers to create wealth over the long term. In addition to setting labor standards that encourage pay equity, more can and should be done at the federal and local levels to support female homeownership through affordable housing policies like down payment assistance."