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The fight for equal rights for women may seem like a battle from days gone by, but data collected from mortgage tech company Own Up suggests that women still face discrimination when it comes to home financing.
“There are roughly 7.4 million more women than men in the U.S., but when it comes to homeownership, many women remain on the sidelines,” a report sent to Inman from Own Up reads. “While single women own roughly 1.5 million more homes than single men do in America’s 50 largest metro areas, women still face significant discrimination in the home financing process.”
Through data available through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database of all loans distributed in 2019 (the latest available data), Own Up compared median interest rate by gender and state on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, assuming an average loan size of $354,000 for a single-family home and a prime rate of 3 percent. For this data pool from 2019, a total of 2.7 million women acquired loans, and a total of 5.8 million men acquired loans.
Own Up only drew on data that specified a loan applicant sex of either male or female, screening out any applications that either did not provide that information, listed both male and female, or responded N/A. The data was not screened for marital status.
Out of all 50 states, only Alaska doled out mortgage rates to women that were lower than those given to men. In that state, women, on average, received a mortgage interest rate of 3.21 percent compared to the average of 3.23 percent given to men.
That means that over the life of this particular loan, the average woman in Alaska will save $1,656 more than the average man with the same loan size.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the average woman in Mississippi stands to face the greatest disparity in mortgage rates compared to the average man in the state. In this southern state, women will pay on average interest rates of 3.47 percent compared to the 3.37 percent paid by their male counterparts.
Over the life of a 30-year, fixed-rate loan of $354,000, that will end up costing women a substantial $7,077 more than men in the state.
So, how can women combat the disparity? Own Up says they may need to shop around a bit more than men in order to find those competitive rates on their home loan.
“Many female borrowers simply fail to shop around for the best possible rate, which translates into losing thousands of dollars over the total life of their loan,” Own Up’s report reads. “This  study from Freddie Mac confirms that failing to shop around costs all consumers significant money in the long run. Yet women are often hit the hardest.”
But, the company, whose own technology helps homebuyers shop around for different mortgages, also noted that the burden to get better mortgage rates should not rest on women alone.
“We need to speak up and address the elephant in the room,” Own Up’s report reads. “The HMDA data doesn’t lie. As an industry, it is imperative that women of all ages and backgrounds have fair and equal access to the best technology, home advisors and support so they can quickly compare rates and secure the best possible deal on their mortgage, regardless of their financial circumstances.”