Women And Property Ownership

CoreLogic’s March 2022 Women and Property report revealed that Australian women are less likely to own or invest in property than men.

We look behind the data to explore why gender equality in property ownership matters when it comes to wealth, security and lifestyle.

Inequality in property ownership

CoreLogic’s report shows that women are less likely to own property than men. Women own just over a quarter of Australian property – or 26.6% – while men own 29.9%. Meanwhile, 43.5% of Australian property is owned jointly.

The gender imbalance is greater in Perth, with women owning just 23% of property compared to 28% for men. Across the regional WA, the disparity is the highest in the country, with women owning just 19.7% of properties.

Interestingly, the gap is most pronounced when it comes to investment properties, with women owning 29.1% of investment properties across Australia, while men own 36.4%. 34.5% are owned jointly.

Men continue to purchase property in greater numbers than women, but the good news is that female ownership has been slowly increasing – although this has largely come at the expense of joint purchases.

Why does property ownership matter?

Owning property is a proven way to grow your wealth. After all, there has been an extraordinary year of growth in residential property prices across Australia over the past 12 months. The Perth median property price increased 14% in 2021 and REIWA forecasts another 10% rise over 2022. Homeowners have all effectively increased their wealth over the past 12 months without doing anything, while non-homeowners have missed out.

As CoreLogic argues, this has only widened the gap, or inequality in wealth, between those who own property and those who don’t.

Women have less share of property ownership than men, meaning they are disproportionately disadvantaged by recent wealth gains from real estate,” CoreLogic argues.

The gap has also grown between owners of certain property types. Women are less likely to own a house than men and more likely to own an apartment – and across the country houses have risen at a rate that’s almost double the rise in apartment prices.

Further price growth could exacerbate gender wealth inequality and, over time, make it harder for women to access the property market at all.

What factors underpin inequality in homeownership?

There are many factors that contribute to inequality in home ownership. These include:

  • Women tend to earn less and the gender pay gap actually rose last year, hitting 13.8% in November 2021.
  • Women are more likely to work part-time and account for 68.5% of Australians in part-time employment, and only 38.4% of those in full-time employment, which further contributes to pay and income disparities.
  • Career breaks and time taken off work for family and caring responsibilities impact women’s earnings, as well as their savings potential over their working life.
  • Typically, it takes women longer to save the 20% deposit to purchase a property. CoreLogic estimates that, based on average earnings, it would take men 79 months to save a 20% deposit on the median Australian house. This compared to 91 months for women. That means, on average, it takes an entire year longer for women to save a 20% deposit.
  • Geographically, women are less represented in property ownership across regional WA as they are less likely to be employed or live in these locations.
  • Women also suffer a similar gender gap in retirement savings, known as the ‘superannuation gap’. This can be as much as 22-35% according to KPMG.

What are governments doing to address homeownership inequality?

Recognising that homeownership has long-term social and economic benefits, the Australian Government introduced the Family Home Guarantee last Budget. This allows single parents with dependents to buy a property with a 2% deposit. The government then guarantees up to 18% of the cost of the property. This means single parents can buy with a lower deposit, without having to pay expensive Lenders Mortgage Insurance.

Depending on their eligibility, women can also access existing Federal government schemes including the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) and the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS), as well as local State government schemes like the WA First Home Owner Grant.

How we can help

Homeownership – whether you’re an owner-occupier or an investor – is a proven and established way to grow wealth and security over time. While property prices have risen in recent years, Perth is still an affordable place to invest and it has some of the best rental yields in the country.

As an all-female office, Rentwest is keen to see more women invest in residential real estate in Perth, to reap the long term benefits. Investing in residential property offers many benefits, and we are happy to guide you through the process of becoming a property investor and help you maximise the return on your investment.

If you’re thinking about investing in Perth real estate – or if you’re looking to buy or rent a home – get in touch with our expert team today.

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