The Surprising History of Women in Real Estate

Real Estate is an asset class that is proving to be an equal opportunity wealth creator, even though it wasn't always that way…

  • In 1907 the American Land and Title Association (ALTA) was created as the American Association of Title Men with no women represented. 
  • When the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was founded in 1908 there were 0 female members.
  • Until 1974 women were required to have a male cosigner to be issued a mortgage.

But the real estate industry has made massive strides forward, in some cases women have even tipped the scales in their favor in some cases.

  • The NAR named Dorcas T. Helfant-Browning its first female president in 1992. She lobbied the Bush administration to enact a slew of reforms that raised FHA loan limits and made them more accessible to all Americans.
  • In 2000, ALTA elected Cara L. Detring as their President who has also served as a member on Leadership & Engagement Groups.
  • Nearly twice as many Single Women obtain mortgages than Single Men, and they have bought more homes in every year since the data was tracked. (But in 49 states they pay higher mortgage rates)
  • While women make up a minority of the home construction industry (just 9.9%), the pay gap is 95.5% of their male counterparts. In the Real Estate Rental & Leasing sector, women see a pay gap of 95.6%.
  • Women now account for 1/3rd of all Architects, 2/3rds of all Realtors®, and 83% of interior designers.
  • The lone woman on the Forbes 400 list of Real Estate Billionaires is Jane Goldman, a real estate investor who heads up Solil Management. Her net worth is an estimated $3 billion. (Honorable mention: The self-made mogul Barbra Corcoran, known as the founder of the Corcoran Group and longest running “Shark Tank” investor.)
  • Women In Real Estate (WIRE) was founded in 2008 to help women in the private equity real estate industry build a network among female professionals.

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