Women are behind in property ownership, says CoreLogic

Woman sitting at home with documents and tablet, drinking a cup of tea and considering home ownership.

A new CoreLogic report into women and home ownership shows men dominate real estate in Australia. 

Property exclusively belonging to people identified as female represented 26.2% of owners analysed across the country, while sole male owners made up 29.9%.

CoreLogic’s manager of financial services and insurance, Milena Malev says women’s low wages – which sit 13.4% lower than men according to the ABS – are a key barrier to property ownership, alongside the broader accumulation of wealth. 

Based on average full time weekly wages for men and women, CoreLogic’s calculations show women would need an additional ten months to save for a 20% deposit on the average Australian home in 2021.

“The implications of this are vast. It means men get access to housing sooner, they have more time in the market, and therefore have greater wealth accumulation as well,” Malev says.

She also notes Australia’s gender pay gap calculations only consider full time earnings, not part time and casual employment where women represent 67.2% of the 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,” Malev says.

Who is buying Australian property and where?

The report highlights home ownership is most commonly shared between two people, generally male and female, accounting for 43.9% of properties in Australia. CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, says this “speaks to affordability constraints and infers you often need dual incomes to achieve property ownership.”

Property owner genderRate of home ownership in Australia
Exclusively female26.2%
Exclusively male29.9%
Mixed gender43.9%
Female (any share)70.1%
Male (any share)73.8%

Melbourne and regional Victoria were identified as being closest to achieving gender parity in property ownership, with less than a 2% difference. The lowest rate for mixed gender ownership was also in Melbourne, at 38.4%.

The largest home ownership gender gap was in regional Western Australian, where female-owned property represented 19.8% of those analysed compared with 29.3% owned by men.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney were home to the highest percentage of exclusively female owners, accounting for 34.8% of those assessed compared to 31.7% male-owned properties. 

As a general trend, the report found female property ownership increased in areas where property values and income was typically higher. Owen says this is a clear signal of the core report findings, which point back to income. 

“The areas where women have higher rates of property ownership, also generally have higher median household incomes. This reinforces the view that women can actually have a higher propensity to buy property than men, therefore women with higher incomes have more success,” she says.

What size deposit do you need for a home loan?

Home loan interest rates are generally advertised assuming buyers have a deposit that’s at least 20% of the value of the property they’re considering. However, you can get into the market with a much lower deposit so long as you meet certain conditions and are happy to bear the brunt of a higher interest rate. There’s a long list of factors to consider with either home loan deposit move. 

If you choose to save up a larger deposit, you’ll likely get a better interest rate, you’ll be paying interest on a smaller amount for potentially less time, and you won’t have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI), which is an additional security some lenders charge for smaller deposits. However, saving up the cash for a fat deposit means it’ll take longer to get the property ball rolling.

On the other hand, you could go in with a smaller deposit to enter a property market with advantageous conditions like falling house prices or low interest rates. The main downside here is the interest a larger loan will rack up over the years, and that you may have to pay LMI. If you go down this road, investigate getting a guarantor or apply for the government guarantee scheme to avoid this last cost.

Whatever path you choose, it’s important to carefully compare home loans when you first take out a mortgage, and revisit how competitive your offer is if you consider refinancing down the line.

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