The Gender Gap in Housing Returns

71 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2020

See all articles by Paul S. Goldsmith-Pinkham

Paul S. Goldsmith-Pinkham

Yale School of Management

Kelly Shue

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 23, 2020

Abstract

Housing wealth represents the dominant form of savings for American households. Using detailed data on housing transactions across the United States since 1991, we find that single men earn 1.5 percentage points higher unlevered returns per year on housing relative to single women. The gender gap grows significantly larger after accounting for mortgage borrowing: men earn 7.9 percentage points higher levered returns per year relative to women. Approximately 45% of the gap in housing returns can be explained by gender differences in the location and timing of transactions. The remaining gap arises primarily from gender differences in execution prices: data on repeat sales reveal that women buy the same property for approximately 2% more and sell for 2% less. Women experience worse execution prices because of differences in the choice of initial list price and negotiated discount relative to the list price. Gender differences in upgrade and maintenance rates, and preferences for housing characteristics and listing agents appear to be less important factors. Overall, the gender gap in housing returns is economically large and can explain 30% of the gender gap in wealth accumulation at retirement.

Keywords: gender gap, housing, wealth accumulation, negotiation

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith-Pinkham, Paul S. and Shue, Kelly, The Gender Gap in Housing Returns (March 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3559892 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3559892

Paul S. Goldsmith-Pinkham

Yale School of Management ( email )

NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://paulgp.github.io

Kelly Shue (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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