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What property ownership looks like for Australian women in 2022

By ,| 5 min read

In Australia, sole females have the lowest rate of home ownership. Sole male property buyers are more likely to be the owners of detached houses, while sole female buyers have a higher incidence of unit ownership.

However, sole female homeowners are more likely to own property in expensive, ‘blue chip’ markets than their male counterparts. So, what does it all mean?

All this information comes from research conducted by property data and analytics provider CoreLogic in their annual Women & Property report for 2022.

In this article, we’ll look at what female property ownership is like in Australia, how the property ownership landscape is changing and the role the gender pay gap has played.

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Why does looking at female property ownership matter?

Looking at statistics on female property ownership helps us understand the gender wealth gap between men and women in Australia.

In a housing market that is likely to continue experiencing price growth for some time, this difference in ownership could amplify wealth inequality between men and women. Women could face a tougher time entering the property market, with wage inequality exacerbating this issue.

Property is typically a ‘safer’ kind of asset that generally experiences capital appreciation as time goes on. For houses specifically, this value accumulation is even greater.

So, when sole female buyers are more likely than men to own units rather than detached houses, this points to potential wealth inequality.

What is home ownership like for women in Australia?

CoreLogic’s report investigates how women interact with the property market. It provides insights on how women are disproportionately disadvantaged by recent wealth gained from a booming real estate market.

Comparing rates of home ownership between men and women in Australia

In the properties analysed by CoreLogic, it was found that men have a higher rate of property ownership than women in Australia.

While joint female and male property ownership is most common (43.5%), sole male owners make up a higher proportion of property ownership (29.9%) compared to sole female property owners (26.6%).

The level of same-sex joint property ownership is relatively low – for property owned by just one gender, approximately 92% of these properties would have just one owner.

Between 2001 and 2021, rates of female property ownership have remained relatively consistent. After a small dip between 2009 to 2012, female property ownership has gradually climbed back up to its pre-2009 levels.

In 2021, 28.3% of property purchases were made by female buyers. This is a slight increase from 27.4% in 2020 and 27.3% in 2019. Interestingly, sole male purchases have declined slightly in 2021, decreasing from 29.6% in 2020 to 28.7% in 2021.

Across the past 10 years, joint male and female purchases have declined marginally. The average for the past decade has been about 42.9%, compared to 43.5% in the previous decade.

Women and investment property ownership

One of the biggest discrepancies between female and male homeowners comes with property investment.

In Australia, women owned 29.1% of the observed investment properties, compared to men owning 36.4%.

Given that property investment is a key method of accumulating wealth in Australia, this paints a concerning picture when it comes to overall (and long term) gender wealth disparity.

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What types of properties do women prefer to buy?

69.3% of properties owned by women in Australia were detached houses, compared to 73% for men.

Houses with joint female and male ownership were the highest portion at 83.9%.

Women are more likely to purchase apartments and units, which may be more affordable options, but experience lower rates of growth compared to houses.

CoreLogic’s data suggests that the 10 year annualised growth rate of house values in Australia was 6.2% per year, compared to 4.1% per year for units.

Why is house ownership lower for women?

The CoreLogic study found a number of factors contributing to higher rates of house ownership for men, versus for women:

  1. Male property ownership rates tend to be higher in markets with higher levels of detached house stock, particularly in resource-based economies like Perth. Despite this, men still owned a greater proportion of houses even in markets with more gender parity e.g. Melbourne.
  2. Female buyers are more likely to purchase in markets with higher concentrations of unit stock.
  3. Women often face economic barriers to home ownership (e.g. generally having lower salaries), so units offer a more affordable option.
  4. CoreLogic’s data also suggests that many sole female buyers may prefer to own a unit in a desirable location than a detached house in a less convenient location. This may also be influenced by the assumption that their budgets could be more limited than their male counterparts.

Why is property ownership important?

So, you may have read this and wondered why any of it matters. In a country like Australia where home ownership is the ultimate goal for many – as well as a means of financial security – it’s important to understand how different Australians experience the property market.

Housing is a cornerstone of wealth in Australia, making up a reported 55.6% of household wealth, according to 2021 RBA data highlighted in the report.

The Australian property market tends to either be stable or growing – rarely the opposite – making it desirable to invest in. In fact, around 20% of Australian households own an investment property.

This tendency to see house prices continually rise over the years means that those with access to the property market are seeing their wealth grow. As women make up a smaller percentage of property investors, they are missing out on this wealth accumulation.

But property ownership isn’t just important for wealth creation and investment opportunities – it’s important for poverty prevention. Those who own real estate are less likely to experience poverty by retirement age.

Housing additionally serves as equity, which can prove useful in funding the retirement of many older Australians.

As we’ve explained, property ownership can bring many benefits to the life of an individual or household, but navigating the home buying process can be tricky.

If you’re thinking about buying a home and want to learn more about your home loan options, it’s worthwhile to speak to an expert. Book an appointment today with a Lendi Home Loan Specialist to get your property journey started.

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The information in this post is general in nature and should not be considered personal or financial advice. You should always seek professional advice or assistance before making any financial decisions.

Tags: property, first home buyer, owner occupier, apartment, investing, investment property

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