Although women have made significant strides toward equality, financial and otherwise, the gender wealth gap is still an ongoing issue, as revealed by CoreLogic’s first Women and Property: State of Play report.
The report, which was fittingly released on International Women’s Day, identified links between gender wealth disparities and property ownership.
CoreLogic International’s GM Financial Services & Insurance Solutions Milena Malev said that the majority of existing research on the gender wealth gap had been focused on salaries, superannuation and wealth accumulation, but CoreLogic sort to understand how gender plays into property ownership using CoreLogic’s extensive property data.
The report was founded on a 2021 overview of Australia and New Zealand’s ownership data, analysing 72.6% of properties in New Zealand and 41.2% of Australian properties.
The report identified the trend of higher property ownership rates amongst men in Australia and New Zealand.
In Australia, only 26.3% of properties were reported as exclusively owned by females, with a similar rate in New Zealand at 20.3%.
Exclusive male property ownership in Australia was reported at 29.9%, with New Zealand also seeing a similar trend at 22.9%.
Joint gender property ownership was the dominant type of ownership in both Australia and New Zealand at 56.8% and 43.9%.
The report revealed that sole female property ownership was more common in major cities, where incomes are generally higher.
Victoria was identified as the most progressive state in terms of gender property ownership, with both rural Victoria and Melbourne reported a tiny 2% gap between the genders.
However, Sydney’s Eastern suburbs had the highest number of exclusively female-owned properties, at 34.8% compared to 31.7% for men.
Western Australia performed the worst, reporting a staggering gap, with 19.8% female-owned property versus 29.3% male-owned.
The disparities between rural and city dwellings further reinforced the findings that the gender wealth gap played a major role in the gender property ownership gap.
The Wealth Gap
According to Australia’s Gender Pay Gap Statistics, as of February 2021, Australia’s national gender pay gap was 13.4%.
The findings from November 2020 revealed that a woman’s average weekly full-time wage was $1562.00 compared to a men’s average weekly full-time earnings of $1804.20.
Ms Malev highlighted the key role that income and access to wealth play in property ownership and how this affects female property ownership.
“The ABS reports the pay gap is sitting at 13.4%. An important implication of lower earnings among women is the additional barrier to property ownership this can create,” she said.
The report also revealed precisely how wealth accumulation is a barrier to homeownership – based on the median Australian house price, it would take women ten months longer on an average full-time salary to save for a 20% deposit.
Ms Malev noted that Australia measures the wage gap on full-time employees.
“Women represent 67.2% in the part-time workforce and only around 37.9% of the full-time workforce.”
“This suggests the true gender pay gap in Australia is actually closer to 30% because of the different composition of men and women in the labour force.”
“In that sense, women, particularly single women, may be even more disadvantaged in trying to access property ownership because they need that income to save for a deposit,” she said.
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Ms Malev revealed that one of the most significant findings of CoreLogic’s report was homeownership was vastly more common between two people, speaking to the current state of property affordability in Australia and the need for a dual-income to achieve homeownership.
“The other element of this is that lone households would have less success getting into the property market.”
“What’s important about that, when it comes to women and real estate, is that women make up over 60% of either single-parent or lone adult households.”
“Yet at the Australia-wide level, sole property ownership among women is less than their male counterparts, which means women are overrepresented in lone households, but they’re underrepresented in property ownership”.
“The core of this analysis and its findings is that it’s all about wealth inequality and income inequality, and that doesn’t just span between men and women, it spans among women as well – including those that are single, sole parents or part-time workers,” she said.
The gender property gap has several implications for women, but it can be most damaging during retirement as homeownership is usually at the centre of retirement plans.
“This wealth gap becomes a particular challenge around retirement, and it’s well documented that if you still have rental or mortgage costs at the time you retire, then you have a much higher incidence of falling into poverty,” Ms Malev said.
Words by Nell Matzen
- CoreLogic’s women and property report reveals more about apparent gender wealth gap
- Australia’s gender pay gap statistics 2021
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