Freddie Mac: Single Women Have Low Confidence in Homeownership Prospects

Freddie Mac, McLean, Va., reported nearly 60 percent of single female head-of-household renters feel homeownership is out of reach indefinitely.

In its report, Single Female Head of Households: Hopes and Challenges for the Future, Freddie Mac noted this demographic has experienced rising housing cost burdens and reduced confidence in wealth building over the past year, illustrating how the pandemic’s economic fallout has hit the country’s most economically vulnerable populations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had disparate economic impacts nationwide, particularly on women who are heads of their households, such as single moms and caretakers,” said Pam Perry, Single-Family Vice President of Equitable Housing. “This population’s housing and financial challenges have been further complicated by pandemic-related workplace disruptions and current economic conditions.”

The survey of 2,000 American single female heads of household aged 18 and older built upon recent Freddie Mac research exploring how overall household composition is shifting, specifically noting that over the past several decades, single-person households have almost doubled in the United States to 36.1 million in 2020, 19.8 million of which are single female households.

Other key findings:
Events over the past two years have disrupted wealth building among single female head-of-household renters. The pandemic disrupted many work situations. Among those that dropped out of the workforce, a staggering 75 percent have not yet returned, the report said. “Black and Hispanic women more frequently struggle to provide for their household and fear they will not recover financially in the next year–if ever,” Freddie Mac said. “Generation X and younger respondents also struggle financially and feel stressed about the future.”

More than half of single female head-of-household renters are “cost burdened,” spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The survey responses showed single female head-of-household renters who are cost burdened are represented similarly across race, with majorities of Black (52 percent), White (55 percent) and Hispanic (55 percent) populations spending more than 30 percent on rent.

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they do not believe they will ever be able to afford a home. Moreover, 82 percent say they don’t have enough money for a down payment or closing costs. Nearly 75 percent also believe a mortgage payment would be higher than their rent or they don’t earn enough for a mortgage payment.