Property gender gap is real and costly: report

Women continue to have less property wealth than men, according to CoreLogic's ‘Women and Property’ report, based on comparing female-only and male-only ownership rates.

Looking at all the property across New Zealand, 22.2% was owned by women alone (compared to 22.0% a year ago) and 22.7% by men (compared to 22.5%). The median value of these properties was also lower for women ($650,532) than men ($675,975), CoreLogic found.

Interestingly, women had higher levels of owner-occupier home ownership than men (22.9% vs 20.7%) but much lower levels of investor ownership (21.6% vs 26.3%).


Why the property gender gap exists

CoreLogic Chief Property Economist Kelvin Davidson said the two main reasons for this property gender gap were that women earned less money than men (currently 9% on average) and had lower levels of financial literacy.

“The gender wage gap means that, in theory at least, males can build financial wealth a bit faster, allowing for earlier and more investment in rental properties. There is some evidence that financial education and literacy is higher among males too, potentially giving them more awareness of different options,” he said.

Mr Davidson said this disparity in property ownership levels could lead to significant differences in life outcomes.

“Dwelling ownership has been shown to be a key factor in both wealth accumulation and secure tenure for households and individuals. Investments in other asset classes such as shares and managed funds are becoming more popular across New Zealand, but the property market still appears to hold an important position as a source of wealth,” he said.

“As a result of its importance in households’ balance sheets, international research has shown that housing is utilised as a source of equity for funding costs later in life, while security of tenure and satisfaction with housing has also been shown to increase with home ownership. 

“Although renting offers greater mobility and generally lower housing costs than owning with a mortgage, there is evidence that renting becomes less satisfying for tenants the longer they are in a private rental. Additionally, older people who retire as renters generally face greater levels of housing stress, and may well be at greater risk of poverty when taking housing costs into account.”

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Published: 21/3/2024