John McGrath – More Women Buying Real Estate
The Australian property market continues to demonstrate strength and resilience this Spring season.
We are seeing very solid results and consistently high auction clearance rates week after week.
This indicates that the increase in the number of homes for sale this Spring has not interrupted the market’s positive trajectory and its healthy rebound following last year’s correction.
In this year’s McGrath Report, we discuss the rising number of women pursuing property ownership.
Research from CoreLogic has found a greater proportion of properties were solely owned by Australian women in January 2023 than in 2022. It may be a slight increase – 26.6% to 26.8% – but it denotes an important shift.
Property is becoming more accessible and affordable for women following changes in workplaces and government policies.
Perhaps the most significant change is in the nation’s gender pay gap, which when measured using the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of average weekly earnings, has slowly narrowed from 18.7% in 2015 to 13% in August 2023.
This has allowed women to earn and save more money to buy a property than in the past.
Various government initiatives have also helped women achieve property ownership in recent years.
This includes the Family Home Guarantee, which allows single parent households, where women are overly represented, to access home loans with a deposit as low as 2%.
This rising buyer demographic is likely to result in changes across the property landscape. Everything from the design of new homes to the way real estate is marketed could soon be tweaked and refined to appeal more to women.
The data shows women prefer apartments, and there are several reasons for this.
An apartment is more affordable than a house (for example, the median price of a house in Sydney is $1,359,936 compared with an apartment at $822,145) so it is easier to service a mortgage for an apartment on a single income rather than a mortgage for a house.
Women also prefer apartments because they are commonly located in areas with good transport links and communities, offering both security and social opportunities.
Design experts say women are also wielding more influence over home design as they increasingly find the financial means to buy their own property.
Internationally renowned architect Blainey North said as women become better paid and have more financial independence, they are buying homes for themselves that reflect their own taste and style.
The research suggests that when women can afford it, they are more inclined to buy property than their male counterparts. And when they do buy, it tends to be in areas with more expensive properties and higher incomes.
For example, the two regions with the highest female property ownership in the country, Sydney’s eastern suburbs and northern suburbs, whilst both having higher ownership rates than men (37.3% versus 32.8%, and 36.6% versus 31.8% respectively), are also the regions with some of the highest property prices in the country.
Overall in Australia, women own properties with a higher median value than men – $728,261 for female owners compared with $717,079 for male owners.
This can be explained by women tending to buy properties in more populous, high-value markets, whilst male property ownership is higher in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia where male-dominated industries like mining and construction are more common.
Women understand the importance of owning property for their wellbeing and their financial security. It is clear that when they have the means, they will buy.
So, as Australia continues to head towards pay parity, it is reasonable to expect the gap between men’s and women’s property ownership in all categories will close.