Pay Inequality Translates into Fewer Women Homeowners


The disparity in wealth and incomes between men and women is directly impacting gender disparity in the ownership of property.

A new study conducted released by Corelogic on International Women’s Day, entitled Women and Property: State of Play, has revealed that only 26.2 per cent of 4.7 million properties analysed belonged to women, as opposed to the 29.9 per cent owned by men.

Properties owned by one person who is female represented 24.1 per cent of property ownership across Australia, compared with 27.7 per cent of sole male owners.

Corelogic estimates, with the current pay gap is sitting at 13.4 per cent, women would require an extra 10 months—a total 79 months—to save for a 20 per cent deposit than men due to lower incomes.

“The implications of this are vast,” Corelogic financial services general manager Milena Malev said.

“It means men get access to housing sooner, they have more time in market, and therefore have greater wealth accumulation as well.

“Women are more likely to exit property ownership after the dissolution of a marriage and that’s where we see women over 50 among the highest growing rates of homelessness in Australia.

“This wealth gap also 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.”

Ownership proportions by gender and region

RegionNo. properties analusedFemale ownershipMale ownershipSole male ownershipSole female ownershipMixed ownership
New South Wales368,27025.1%29.9%23.3%28.0%45.0%
Northern Territory 42,03024.8%32.8%22.8%30.8%42.4%
Western Australia907,60622.9%29.6%20.5%27.4%47.5%

^Source: Corelogic

Australia’s gender pay gap calculations only consider full time earnings, not part time and casual employment where women represent 67.2 per cent of the workforce.

Malev noted that Australia measures the gender pay gap by average weekly earnings for full time employees, however women represent 67.2 per cent of the part time workforce and only around 37.9 per cent of the full time workforce.

“This suggests the true gender pay gap in Australia is actually closer to 30 per cent 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,” Malev said.

Corelogic found that across Australia’s residential real estate market, estimated to be worth over $7 trillion, women made up 60 per cent of single-parent or lone adult households, however lagged behind men in sole ownership due to a wider a barrier for entry.

“Women are over-represented in lone households but are underrepresented in property ownership,” Corelogic head of research Eliza Owen said.

“Income inequality 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.”

▲ The highest rates of exclusively female ownership was in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where 34.8 per cent of properties were found to be exclusively owned by women.

Of 76 national markets observed by Corelogic, only seven were found to have rates of exclusively female ownership were higher than the rate of exclusively male owned properties.

The largest discrepancy between exclusively male and female ownership in property was across regional Western Australia, where female owned property represented 19.8 per cent of those analysed compared with 29.3 per cent owned by men.

Melbourne and regional Victoria were the areas with the highest level of gender parity in ownership rates, with less than 2 percentage points separating male and female rates of ownership.

Melbourne’s inner south was found to be the area with the highest disparity in female ownership, with 32.6 per cent of property analysed being exclusively owned by women, compared with 27.6 per cent owned by men.

As a general trend, the report found female property ownership increased in areas where property values and income was typically higher.

For men, it’s a negative correlation, so the less expensive the area, the higher the rate of male ownership.


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