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Women have an illustrious history in the real estate industry — but it’s not a very long history. In fact, in the U.S., aspiring female homeowners weren’t even allowed to finance purchases on their own until the 1970s. Thankfully, women have achieved high levels of real estate–related success since then, both as homeowners and as industry professionals. Here are some of the most interesting stats, outrageous facts and impressive figures in the history of women in real estate.

Women in real estate facts and figures

“57% of all real estate brokers and agents are female; 50% of property, real estate and community association managers are women; 11% of construction industry professionals are women; 30% of architects are female; 88.5% of interior designers and decorators are women; 17% of single homebuyers are women; 10.76 million U.S. homes are owned and occupied by single women; Homes owned by women are worth 92.3% of male-owned homes; Female-owned homes generate 1.5% less in annualized returns than male-owned homes;” 

History of women in real estate

  • Today, many women work in the home title industry. However, that wasn’t the case until the 1920s — in fact, when the American Land and Title Association (ALTA) was first established in 1907, it was called the American Association of Title Men. They changed that in 1923, and ALTA had its first female president in 2000.
  • The primary author of the Housing Act of 1937 (aka the Wagner-Steagall Act), which provided subsidized residences for low-income citizens for the very first time, was Catherine Bauer (1905-1964). An outspoken advocate of affordable homes for all — her book “Modern Housing” remains an oft-cited classic in the field — Bauer advised three different presidents and an array of federal agencies on urban planning for 30 years. The Wagner-Steagall Act made possible public housing developments like the Ten Eyck Houses in Brooklyn, New York (below).
  • Relatively few women work in the field of construction: just 10.9 percent (and 9.9 percent in home construction specifically), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Still, that represents a 52.9 percent increase in the last decade, from 840,000 women in 2013 to 1.28 million women in 2022. The first chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction was founded in 1953 by 16 women in Fort Worth, Texas. Today, NAWIC boasts more than 115 chapters all over the U.S.
  • Much has been made of the wage gap between men and women in the workforce, but in the field of construction, that gap is nearly nonexistent. According to NAWIC, female construction pros earn 95.5 percent of what the guys make.
  • Women have more of a presence in designing buildings than constructing them: They represent nearly one-third (30 percent) of architects, according to the BLS. That’s only slightly up from 24 percent in 2004, when Zaha Hadid (above) became the first female to win the Pritzker Prize (architecture’s equivalent of an Academy Award). Still, the pace of progress may be quickening: The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) reports that 2 in 5 new architects are women — and that women consistently qualify for their licenses quicker than men, completing education, experience and examination requirements six months faster than the guys.