There are only 2 areas in Australia where women own more property than men, according to a new report

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  • In Australia 26.2% of property belongs exclusively to women, compared with 29.9% owned by men, according to the report ‘Women and Property: State of Play’.
  • Areas with more expensive housing have higher rates of female property ownership, in contrast to men, who have a higher rate of ownership in less-expensive areas.
  • The new report explores the disparities between women and men when it comes to home ownership.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

A new report explores the disparities between women and men when it comes to home ownership, and reveals a surprising trend about where women are outpacing men.

The report ‘Women and Property: State of Play’, found that in Australia 26.2% of property belongs exclusively to women, compared with 29.9% owned by men.

It also uncovered just two areas in Australian cities where women own more share of the property market than men.

The report found that the most common type of ownership was ‘mixed gender’ ownership, where both men and women had ownership of the property, accounting for 43.9% of properties in Australia and highlighting dual income as a key factor in property ownership.

Eliza Owen, CoreLogic’s Head of Research and author of the report told Business Insider Australia the key takeaway was that higher participation in the labour force leads to a higher rate of home ownership.

While it’s an unsurprising finding, it’s still important we address it, Owen said, so that women have access to an asset that’s still an important part of wealth in Australia.

“We need to acknowledge that access to home ownership and access to wealth accumulation is not the same across genders and across incomes.

“And that’s something we need to address to create more equitable outcomes.”

An additional 10 months of saving

Property ownership represents an important facet of wealth in Australia, with the report estimating the residential housing market’s worth at around $7.5 trillion in February 2021, and RBA figures suggesting the value of housing accounts for 52.6% of household wealth.

And with the pay gap sitting at 13.4%, Owen reiterated that when it comes to women and home ownership, it all comes down to income inequality.

Owen said addressing pay disparity is the obvious – but crucial – solution to the wealth inequality that results in the higher rate of home ownership by men.

“A key element of home ownership is having the income that enables you to save a deposit more quickly.”

The impact of the pay gap is put under the spotlight in the report: its modelling shows that, based on average weekly earnings for men and women, it would take women an additional 10 months to save for a 20% deposit on the median Australian dwelling value.

This house, I bought it

One surprising finding is the places where women are more likely to outbid men at auction (so to speak).

It discovered two regions where more property is owned exclusively by more women than men: the wealthy inner south region of Melbourne, where 32.6% of property is exclusively owned by females, compared with 27.6% exclusively owned by men, and Sydney’s harbour-hugging Eastern Suburbs.

The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney have the highest proportion of properties owned by women — higher than men. Women own 34.8%, versus 31.7% exclusively owned by men.

“When women have higher income levels, they actually have a higher propensity for home ownership,” Owen said, “in some instances higher than high earning men.”

“That just goes to show that if you have the means, then women are quite keen to invest in property and potentially see it as a preferable asset.”

It also uncovered that in general, areas with more expensive housing have higher rates of female property ownership, in contrast to the trend for men, who have a higher rate of ownership in less-expensive areas.

What about the next generation of homeowners?

“It’s going to be really challenging for people to accumulate a deposit as quickly as the market is moving,” Owen says of the challenges facing young Australians.

The rapidly rising cost of housing means there could be lower levels of home ownership in 2021.

This comes off the back of 2020 where there was an increase in first home ownership thanks to government incentives, which are now tapering off.

Owen sees a problem in the government’s increasing focus on home ownership as a means of accumulating wealth for retirement.

“Australian and New Zealand governments have moved toward this broader policy of self provision, which is this idea that you don’t have to rely on government funding so much because you can own your own assets and create wealth during your working life.”

The problem, she says, is that home ownership doesn’t come equally. And without it, people tend to face a higher risk of poverty in retirement, not to mention the ability to accumulate wealth on this asset, which can be put towards health care and aged care later in life.

Owen also said that for better or worse, paired incomes remain the surest bet into the housing market.

“The most common type of home ownership is between men and women, suggesting that you need a dual income to be able to afford property nowadays,” she added.