Over the past 30 years, women have increased their presence in the housing market, with the homeownership rate of households led by women rising while the homeownership rate of households led by men falls.

Asian women experienced the greatest increase in homeownership—in fact, Asian women have almost caught up with Asian men. Currently, fewer than 2 percentage points separate the homeownership rates of Asian men and Asian women .

During the same period, Black women increased their homeownership rate, while Black men experienced the greatest drop. The homeownership gap between households headed by Black men and Black women has declined from 19.8 percentage points to 6.1 percentage points.

The pandemic could change the landscape dramatically. Women are facing greater struggles because they are more likely to be working in industries hit harder by COVID-19.

Moreover, many women have exited the labor force, finding the demands of employment inconsistent with managing caregiving responsibilities and the education of children at home as schools provide instruction remotely. The result has been a sharper drop in the labor force participation rate for women than for men, which may further increase earning disparities. If these job losses are permanent, this could slow or even reverse the positive trend in women’s homeownership rates that we have observed during the past 30 years.

Federal relief efforts, like those outlined in the American Rescue Plan Act, could help provide the necessary stimulus to minimize the number of permanent COVID-related job losses. But the gender pay gap is still an issue. Closing it requires changing employer behavior, implementing public policy initiatives, and increasing public awareness.

Read the full article about women's homeownership at Urban Institute.