Rising Inequality In Australia’s Housing Market Is Bad News For Women
Industry: Home & Residential
Much is said of the gender pay gap, the concept that women are paid less than men, despite doing equivalent amounts of work. But much less is said about the growing gap in home ownership between men and women in Australia and it’s deeply concerning.
Sydney, Australia (PRUnderground) October 6th, 2022
A recent report from Corelogic in 2022, entitled Women & Property: One Year On (Australia and New Zealand), showed that women are less likely to be able to own property than their male counterparts.
In fact, while women own around 26.6% of Australia’s property, men own 29.9% and the rest is owned jointly or by corporate entities.
The greatest level of gender disparity in cities comes in Perth. In that part of Western Australia, women own just 23% of property compared to men who hold 28% of the property! And in regional Western Australia things get even worse with women owning less than 20% of all properties.
Interestingly, the largest imbalance between men and women in property ownership is when it comes to investment properties. That is, properties which were bought to lease out and increase the wealth and assets of the owners.
Women own less than 30% of Australia’s investment properties where men own nearly 37% of them!
Some say that female ownership of property has been increasing over the last few years but if you dig down a little, you will discover that the majority of these gains have come from joint property ownership and not more wholly-female-owned property.
What Does This Mean For Women in Australia?
Well, firstly, property ownership is one of the most straightforward ways for an individual or couple to increase their personal wealth.
The long-term trend of rapidly increasing house prices in Australia means that not only does rental income pay down the mortgage but, in addition, the equity in the property grows very quickly.
In 2022, in Perth, for example, property prices are expected to increase by 10% and 2021, they did increase by 14%. That means a property purchased for $300,000 in 2020 was worth $342,000 by the end of 2021 and by the end of 2022 it will be worth $376,200!
No bank account or savings scheme can come close to growing your money as quickly as property investment.
And if you dig deeper, you will find that men own more houses than women do, who are more likely to own apartments and the data suggest that a house gains in value at roughly twice the rate that an apartment does.
It is also worth noting that in the 55+ age group, women are now facing the highest rates of homelessness and find it very difficult to safely own their own home.
What’s Causing This?
This inequality in home ownership is driven by many factors including:
- The gender pay gap (this is around 13.8% in Australia) – having less money coming in than men, means that women cannot easily buy equivalent amounts of property
- The tendency to work part-time – women work part-time at roughly twice the rate of men; this obviously increases disparity between incomes
- Career breaks – many women, out of necessity, take career breaks for caring and familial roles and this diminishes both earnings and savings
- Time to save a deposit – it takes men around 6.5 years to save a deposit but because of the factors above, it takes women nearly 8 years.
- Retirement savings gap – this reflects the wages gap and makes it harder to pay off a mortgage when retiring
Final Thoughts On Gender Inequality In The Australian Housing Market
The problems facing women in Australia in the housing market are clear and action needs to be taken to help resolve these issues, the government has made something of a start with its First Home Super Saver and First Home Loan Deposit schemes, but more must be done to close the gap.
It is worth noting, however, that women should seek independent financial advice to improve their chances of home ownership as early in their career as possible.
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