Home loan applications by single women are increasing, but the gender gap in the housing market persists

All single women (all single women) are getting into the Australian property market.

While single men are still more likely to raise their hands for larger home loans at a younger age, new analysis from ME Bank reveals that single women tied men 50-50 when it came to to buy a property last year.

The percentage of single women applying for a mortgage increased by 1% in 2021; this increase also brought the average loan amount for single women to $411,752.

By comparison, single men applied for an average home loan value of $449,273 last year, an increase of 6%, while their percentage of new applications fell 1%. This puts single men and women neck and neck.

So surely that means gender is no longer a barrier to buying a property, right? (Yeah, okay, ladies, stop laughing, we know that. But it’s Women’s History Month, so let’s check it out anyway).

Closing the gender gap in the real estate market

2021 may have been a great year for single women buying mortgages, but soaring house prices in Australia seem to have widened the gender gap in ownership, globally. Pity. (We can still dance to “Independent Woman,” though).

Overall, there are several reasons why it is more difficult for women to break into property than for men. Primarily, the gender pay gap widened in 2021, from 13.4% in November 2020 to 13.8% in November 2021.

The devaluation of women’s work and employment opportunities primarily fuels this disparity, but the end result means that it’s harder for women to save for that 10-20% housing deposit than it is for men – especially now that house prices have well and truly outpaced wage growth. .

There is also a lot of equity in owning a property. According to Corelogic, men own 36.4% of all investment properties, while women only own 29.1%. So with Australia’s housing affordability plummetsmany women find themselves excluded from a huge source of wealth and security.

Let’s not forget that historical sexism is not far off either. Married white women did not actually gain the right to own property across Australia until 1897, while progress progressed at an even more glacial pace for women of color. To put it into perspective: we’ve had batteries, light bulbs and stainless steel longer than women’s property rights.

Considering all that drag, the commotion was impressive. But there is still a long way to go before women achieve full economic equality.

Advice for single-family home buyers in the real estate market

For lone Aussies hoping to get a foot in the door, there are a few strategies you can consider to increase your chances.

  • First, co-purchasing, that is, buying a property with a family member or friend.
  • You can also consider using a guarantor, who pledges their own assets. It makes you a more attractive investment for lenders because there is someone who mitigates your risk.
  • You could also become a “tenant”, or an investor who owns property but lives in a rental house. This way, rental income and potential tax breaks provide you with a cushion along your path to home ownership.

Systemic inequality does not mean it is hopeless when it comes to buying your first home, especially if you are single. In fact, the National Housing Finance & Investment Corp (NHFIC) predicts that single-family households will become a significant Australian demographic over the next ten years, driven by an increase in the number of older single female homeowners.

In the meantime, check out our guide to saving for a home loan deposit or compare the best home loans on offer to get the process started.

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Penny D. Jackson