Women In Housing-2015

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Th e M Rep o RT | 17 Feature Th e M Rep o RT | 17 A Look at the Hurdles of the Female Homebuyer By A. Mechele Dickerson, J.D. T here is a large body of research on the treatment of blacks, Latinos and other racial groups in U.S. housing markets. In contrast, relatively little research focuses on how women fare in housing markets. Merely looking at overall homeownership numbers, mortgage loan denials or general housing market trends will not explain whether women have different experiences when they pursue the American Dream of homeownership. For the most part female and male renters are both struggling to find affordable housing. But, the experiences women have in U.S. housing markets when they attempt to buy homes is often gendered and sometimes varies considerably from the experi- ences men have. Where Women and Men Are Alike H ome prices have continued to rise this year and many U.S. cities are seeing double-digit price increases compared to a year ago. Approxi- mately 20 years ago, housing prices in the United States also started to soar and homeownership rates started rising as well. Homeownership rates steadily increased from 64.7 percent in 1995, to 68.9 percent in 2005. Though home prices were rising faster than incomes, renters could buy homes 20 years ago because of the non-traditional subprime mortgage products (like no-documentation or interest-only adjustable rate mortgages or payment option loans) that lenders offered before the recession. Higher home values coupled with the greater de- mand for homes fueled the housing boom. But, home- ownership rates and home values started to decline in 2006 just before the Great Recession started. When the housing bubble popped, home prices plummeted and homeownership rates began to decline. Though rising home prices this year signals that parts of the housing market have recovered from the recession, homeownership rates are still falling. Overall homeownership rates have now dropped to 63.6 percent, the lowest rate since 1990. Gender Bias and the American Dream

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