It may be a generation until the gap closes. Image – Canva
  • 26.6% of homes are owned by females, compared with 29.9% owned by males
  • Property ownership provides financial security
  • It may be years before the gap is narrowed

In Australia 26.6% of homes are owned by females, compared with 29.9% owned by males according to CoreLogic‘s latest Woman and Property Report released this month. This gap is closing but Property Women Director Jo Vadillo warns it may still be a generation before we see equality.

Property Women is a networking and mentoring organisation for women in property, Mrs Vadillo believes property ownership is not only important for women.

“Property ownership is important for anybody really. It anchors people financially and means they have an asset that is working for them. “

Jo Vadillo, Property Women Director

“Often females will lose a lot of traction in their career, whether it’s to raise a family or to look after older relatives. What happens is you do get women in their 40s and 50s who have got a diminished superannuation position. They really need a roof over their head and also the security and the confidence that it brings it that you’ve got something to fall back on.

Housing makes up 55.6% of household wealth in Australia according to Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data to September 2021.

The author of the Report,  CoreLogic Head of Research Eliza Owen, explained that property ownership lowers the likelihood of falling into poverty by retirement age.

“Dwelling ownership is a pillar of wealth accumulation, and by extension, a comfortable lifestyle, in Australia and New Zealand,” she writes.

The report compares the portion of homeownership by gender between Australia and New Zealand. Across both countries, men represent a higher overall portion of property ownership.

Portion of ownership by gender, Australia vs NZ

The gap between male and female ownership is slowly diminishing in Australia. CoreLogic reported that the percentage of property purchased by women increased from 27.4% in 2020 to 28.3% in 2021.

The portion of female buyers increased against the backdrop of a decline in joint ownership.

Property Purchases Made By Year

Why is there a gender gap in property ownership?

While younger generations are changing their mindset, Mrs Vadillo explains that she believes there are subtle societal factors influencing women’s financial decision making.

“All the romantic genres that are thrown at girls as they’re growing up is telling them that the knight in shining armour is going to come along and save them and be their financial security blankets.”

“I do think it’s changing and a lot of women now are enjoying independence and property ownership minus the guy,” she said.

Mrs Vadillo was in her 20s and single her she bought her first property.

“I did it on my own and I kind of love that. The fact that hey, I did this, I did this on my own. I did this on my own income, on my savings, on my own gumption.”

Mrs Vadillo now owns Advocate Property Services with her husband. She helps others navigate property buying and investing.

“There is still a gap but I do feel that we are starting to shift that a little bit. But unfortunately, we’re probably still a generation away.”

Jo Vadillo, Property Women Director

With housing affordability becoming increasingly challenging for home buyers, many people are being pushed to wait until they have a second income before purchasing a property. Mrs Vadillo believes this is another factor impacting the gender ownership gap.

Narrowing the gap

The CoreLogic report highlights the federal government’s ‘Family Home Guarantee’ which was created to help 10,000 eligible single parents enter the housing market with deposits as low as 2%. Although available to any gender, the scheme is likely to help more women.

The report concludes that while the scheme is a start, building upon it may require more government policies targeting single women and parents.

Education for women around investment strategies is also underlined as a potential means by which to improve female property ownership.

Mrs Vadillo emphasised the importance of changing the language used toward women in the financial sector.

“I do think that a lot of the language and messages coming from some of the big financial institutions is dumbing down a female journey.”

“Instead of telling women how they can save money and telling boys how they can invest it. I think we need to change that language.”

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