tax female
Image – Canva.
  • The property market can be an exciting and flexible way to spend your days
  • Unfortunately, there are many roadblocks for women to get into the sector
  • Encouraging STEM subjects and upskilling are some ways to make a start

I speak with women from all different walks of life; single, married, recently divorced, retired women and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities who are interested in property development but feel overwhelmed by the confusion of the industry, the players in it and are scared to dip their toes in.

The property market, residential or commercial, can be an exciting and flexible way to spend your days, with a huge uplift when done right. Buyers are often plagued with the questions, of what to buy and where and how to afford it. This can lead to constant second-guessing paired with a constant fear of being taken for a ride.

This is especially true if this is their first investment.

There are many roadblocks to starting in property investment for women.

CoreLogic’s Women and Property: State of Play report found that men had exclusive ownership of 29.9 per cent of the 4.8 million properties analysed compared with 26.6 per cent owned by women.

So straight off the bat, women have gained less from the property uplift over the recent years, which would correlate with how much they have for their retirement.

The gap in property ownership most likely comes down to women having lower levels of income.  The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that the gender pay gap in Australia currently sits at 13.4 per cent, with the average monthly earnings for men at $7,818 and $6,769 for women.

This means that women will take longer to accumulate a deposit for an investment property and cannot readily use the equity in the principal place of residence to buy an investment property, making it even harder to enter the market.

Over the last five years I have spoken, mentored and helped hundreds of women in this space. The women I speak to are actively interested in real estate. They are serial scrollers, they subscribe to podcasts and magazines with countless images of drool worthy inspiration and yet they can’t find the pathway to starting, mostly due to affordability.

Some have the funds, the aptitude, the nous but cannot convince their partners to develop. It leads me to wonder, do men trust their partners with the family nest egg when it comes to something risky like property development?

Another impediment is the access to finance, It is extraordinarily difficult as a single woman with or without children to get a loan from the bank – they don’t sit easily in the Banks risk profiling checklist. They are on a single income and as the presence of a dependant counts against you, their borrowing power is significantly reduced.

Kribashini Hannon
Kirbashini Hannon. Image supplied.

So, how can you make a start?

Encourage STEM course for young women

I’ve personally come across so many smart and talented women working within the property markets and building industry. From creative fields like architecture, interior design, or styling to technical fields like civil and structural design or fields like finance and sales. Honestly, the breadth of technical roles is huge in the construction and development space. We need to look to our younger female generation and encourage them into staying in STEM fields and break through the cultural / societal reasons for leaving these when family pressures become high.

Sing from the rooftops

What women are achieving in the field of Property Development is not spoken about enough and promoted whether it’s for profit or social enterprise. Let’s showcase and excite younger women about the many benefits of Property development and Construction – it’s a personality & aptitude fit not a gender fit. I know plenty of men who are just as nervous as their female counterparts.  There is a plethora of awards that women in the Industry should put their hands up for, recently I spoke at the PropertyGuru’s Asia Property Awards (Australia) launch and was proud to see so many women there hearing more about them and how they are showcasing Australian development in Asia.

Start small

Another savvy way around the roadblock to entry is to invest smaller amounts and grow your nest egg, start-up companies like BRICKLET where you can buy into an investment for a smaller buy in and not need to take on 100% of the risk.

Engage with a professional to help you

A joint venture is where you can partner with family members or other women for a smaller investment and learn about the process. I recently completed a joint venture with seven other women which was a great way to pool together resources, get creative and have the safety net of sharing the risk/reward and responsibility. Understanding the deal and making sure you are not being taken advantage of is key here as there are some very complex legal and financial issues to navigate. So long as you have good independent legal and financial advice it can be a brilliant kick-starter.

Upskill

Often one person in a partnership may take the lead on investments, whether this be to your own home, a long-term rental investment or a property development project. Bridging the gap in your own knowledge is key and I find women have a larger learning curve mostly due to their lack of exposure to property development, but you should upskill with your partner; ultimately this a collaborative process you make these decisions together and should both be aware of the risk and reward.

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Written by Kribashini Hannon, Founder of BuildPlayLive

Kribashini Hannon is a Construction Project Manager who has a wealth of experience in commercial and residential development. Following a career as a client-side Project Manager she previously co-founded a company that teaches only women how to manage their own builds or developments.

Now as the Founder of BuildPlayLive, she is working hand in hand with clients who need help to achieve the best result for whatever their personal property goals are. Kribashini can be contacted at kribashini@buildplaylive.com.au. 



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