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Zillow Study Finds Women Shut Out Of 18% Of Housing Market

Keith Griffin
Mar 30, 2022
Female home buyer
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Gap can be as high as 22% depending on employment field.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The disparities are most profound for women working in job categories such as financial, education and health services, and "other services," which include advocacy and pet care.
  • Homes owned by women typically are worth less than homes overall.
  • Pay equity gap is slowly shrinking, closing the home value gap as it does so.

A study released today by Zillow demonstrates that 18% of the housing market is out of reach for women due to the gender pay gap. That has a dramatic effect on generational wealth, a Zillow economist said.

"This study shows how severely the gender pay gap limits women in the housing market, but that's only the start of a compounding impact," said Zillow economist Nicole Bachaud. "Owning a home represents the dominant form of wealth building for most Americans. So not only are women starting from behind, but they're falling even further behind with each passing day as homes build equity."

This gap in access can be as wide as 22% of the housing market depending on the industry women work in, Zillow found in its study. For example, women who work in the utilities industry have more homes available to them (71.1% of the market) than women working in all other industries analyzed. Women working in the leisure and hospitality industry can afford only 9.6% of the market. Men in both industries can afford 9–10 percentage points more of the market than women. In all 13 job categories analyzed nationally, men can afford more of the housing stock than women.

The study says construction industry incomes are the nearest to parity, with men earning only 0.1% more and able to afford virtually the same share of the housing market. At a local level, there are some industries where women can afford more homes than men. For example, women in the transportation industry can afford 12 to 13 percentage points more of the market than men in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.

The home value gap for women is narrowing nationally. Homes owned by female-headed households, although still below the value of those owned by male-headed households and of median home values overall, have crept closer to parity over the past decade.

There is some good news, though, on the pay front. The Zillow study says the pay gap is shrinking. Equal Pay Day — which symbolizes how far into a new year a woman making a typical salary needs to work to make the same amount of money as a man making a typical salary in the previous calendar year  — fell on March 15, nine days earlier than it did in 2021 and 16 days earlier than in 2020.

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