It's well established that female-only borrowers pay more for their mortgages than male-only borrowers. There are two justifications for this difference: women have weaker credit characteristics and a higher percentage of subprime loans. New research from the Urban Institute reveals that these weaker credit characteristics are not painting an accurate picture of how well women pay their mortgages. Instead, female-only borrowers are doing a better job of paying their mortgages than their credit characteristics predict. And a better job than men.

But, thanks to these weaker credit characteristics, female-only borrowers are turned down more often than men and couples for mortgages.

Given that more than one-third of female-only borrowers are minorities and almost half of them live in low-income communities, we need to develop more robust and accurate measures of risk to ensure that we aren’t denying mortgages to women who are fully able to make good on their payments, says Laurie Goodman in this Urban Institute report.

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