Female mortgage applicants are significantly less likely to be approved than comparable male applicants, according to a new study of Chicago-area loan data.

The study found that not only were female applicants less likely to be approved than male applicants with similar loan-to-income ratios, but that an even greater disparity appeared when comparing female-headed joint applications to male-headed ones. Female applicants were at a significantly larger disadvantage when refinancing than compared to home purchase applications.

The study, by the Woodstock Institute, looked at Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data from 2010 for the six counties of the Chicago region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will). Comparisons were based on borrowers with similar loan-to-income ratios as a way of assessing affordability.

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