Women, the Wealth Gap, and Real Estate


By Kristin Crites | @KristinACrites

By now we all know the wage gap between men and women is a real thing. But as women--and hopefully, a few good men--fight to close the wage gap and eliminate wage discrimination, women must also fight to ensure we are closing the wealth gap.

For every dollar a man has, a woman has only 36 cents. Single moms possess only 8% of the wealth of single dads and single working women have only 16% of the wealth of a single working man. What the #@&%?!

As a woman, as a woman realtor, as a woman realtor who is also the mother of daughters, I’d like all women to know and understand the potential value in investing in real estate. It is one avenue women may use to close the gender wealth gap and leave a very profitable and practical legacy for their children.

If you don’t own a home, buy. If you already do, add to your portfolio. Let’s look at what that means for Denver.

No matter your news source, you’ll find articles about Denver’s insanely hot real estate market along these lines: “You cannot purchase a home for under 450k!” or “Every home gets dozens of bids and goes for way over asking price!”  

Yes, the Denver market is undeniably hot but it is not impenetrable. Sure, if you want to purchase a condo in The Spire you’re looking at a minimum of $450k, and if you can afford that, this article likely isn’t for you. However, if you’re willing to broaden your search into the suburbs, there are town homes in the $200’s. Yes, really!

Both rents and home prices have been skyrocketing thanks to Denver’s attractive quality of life, booming economy and a litany of other factors. For years the pros and cons of buying vs renting have been basically a wash, and that is part of the reason our market is flooded. But over the past few years hundreds of luxury apartments have been built in the Denver area, our condo regulations have backlogged building of condos, and soon it is going to be more advantageous to rent than to buy.

It may seem like this would be a huge deterrent to entering the market. But, where there’s deterrent for many, there’s opportunity for others, i.e., you. First, you will have people who choose not to enter the real estate market (freeing up the market for those who have capital). Second, if you are buying income property, as property owner, you will have more renters looking at properties allowing you to cover your mortgage and make additional money on your property.  Finally, if you are looking in what are now the outer suburbs, in a few years, you will be sitting on more equity than if you were to purchase in Denver. Sprawl will continue in all directions. So, the home/town home/condo you purchase now won’t be on the outskirts for long and will likely see attractive enhancements accompany it.

This is not a “get rich quick” scheme. There are plenty of those out there. If you want to build actual wealth that’s sustainable, a sound investment in real estate coupled with other traditional, conservative retirement investments (think: 401k, Roth IRA), could be the key to success for you.

It’s important that women consider all avenues for securing our retirement and accumulating wealth. Take ownership over your future.


LifestyleVirginia Santy