04.13.2022 Lifestyle

The Gender Gap And Property Ownership

The Gender Gap And Property Ownership

Across Australia, fewer women own property than men but that’s not the case in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Released in March 2022, CoreLogic’s Women and Property report highlights some key insights about property ownership across the country when it comes to gender.

At its heart is the simple fact that women are less likely to own or invest in property than men. But, interestingly, Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs leads the way in terms of female property ownership.

We look at the data in the report, and why gender equality in property ownership really matters for wealth, security and lifestyle.

Inequality in property ownership: the key takeaways

According to the CoreLogic report, overall women are less likely to own property than men. Nationally, the research shows that women own just 26.6% of Australian real estate while men own 29.9%. Another 43.5% is owned jointly.

The gender gap in property ownership is widest when it comes to investment properties, where women own 29.1%, men own 36.4%, and 34.5% are jointly owned.

But the good news is that, of all Australian cities, Sydney has the highest rate of female homeownership at 31.9%. Even better is that the Eastern Suburbs actually lead the country when it comes to women owning property. In fact, female ownership here eclipses male ownership by close to 5% – 37.1% to 32.7%

Interestingly, the Eastern Suburbs is followed on this table by other blue-chip Sydney areas including North Sydney and Hornsby (with 37.0%) and City and Inner South (with 36.2%).

Unfortunately, it’s often a very different story elsewhere. For example, in regional WA the ownership rate for women drops to an Australian low of 21.7%. And in Darwin, it’s 24%.

Generally, women also own a lower proportion of houses than apartments compared to men. Just 24.0% of houses nationally are under female ownership, while men own 28.5%.

Why is Sydney’s eastern suburbs different?

There’s no easy answer for this, because there are many complex social and economic reasons for the Eastern Suburbs coming out well when it comes to female property ownership. But we note that our area tends to have:

  • a higher ratio of women than many parts of the country (53.5% of Woollahra Municipality is female compared to a Greater Sydney average of 50.7%)
  • more single people (26.9% of households in Woollahra Municipality are occupied by a person compared to a Greater Sydney average of 20.4%)
  • and more people working well-paid jobs (18.3% of people in Woollahra Municipality earned more than $3,000 a week compared to a Greater Sydney average of 4.5%)
  • there are also more apartments than in most other parts of the country, with less than only 20% of dwellings in Woollahra Municipality categorised a separate houses compared to a Sydney-wide average of 55.0% and, as the CoreLogic report points out, women are more likely to own apartments than houses.

The importance of property ownership

The property boom of the last two years has resulted in enormous growth in median property prices right around the country.

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In the year ending February 2022, Sydney’s median house price increased by 25.95% to hit $1,410,128, while the median unit price rose by 13.75% to reach $831,793.

Prices have risen even more dramatically in some parts of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. For instance, in Bronte, the median house price rose 66.5% in the 12 months to February 2022, according to realestate.com.au.

While this is good news for property owners, it’s terrible news for those who don’t have a foot on the ladder. The simple fact is that if you don’t already own property, you’ve missed out on this capital growth. That doesn’t just leave you comparatively poorer than homeowners, it also reduces your chances of ever getting into the property market to become a homeowner yourself.

As a result, CoreLogic argues that rising house prices have widened inequality in our society – potentially placing women at a distinct wealth disadvantage, given they tend to own less property.

The solution

There’s little doubt that property ownership (whether as an owner-occupier or investor) also has an impact beyond financial security. It also affects our lifestyle and even whether we get to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

There are many complex factors that contribute to gender inequality in homeownership. These include the well-documented gender pay gap and the fact that women are more likely to work part-time or to take a career break to raise a family.

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.

Each of these needs to be addressed if we truly want equality in property ownership and therefore, real equality in wealth too.

Want more?

If you’re looking for advice on buying or selling a home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, contact my team today.