Female ownership of property is the forgotten victim of the gender pay gap, as shown by CoreLogic’s report ‘Women and Property’. 

CoreLogic data suggests greater rates of property ownership among men than women in both Australia and New Zealand.  Properties exclusively belonging to owners identified as female represented 26.2% of the properties analysed across Australia, compared with 20.3% of the properties analysed across New Zealand. 

Primary source of wealth 

The report details the importance of property ownership as a primary source of wealth accumulation, healthy communities and a lowered financial burden on the Australian economy through the ability of property owners to provide for their own retirement. 

Access to gender ownership data inhibited analysis – 41.2% of properties listed gender-specific ownership details – however clear trends emerged using the available information. 

Source: Corelogic
Source: Corelogic

Source: Corelogic

Looking at regions from a city level, male property ownership outstripped female property ownership based on the inferred gender matching. Greater Melbourne and Regional Victoria were the areas with the highest level of gender parity in ownership rates, with less than 2 percentage points separating male and female rates of ownership. Melbourne also had the lowest rates of properties owned by a mix of males and females, at 38.4%. 

The largest discrepancy between exclusively male and female ownership in property was across Regional Western Australia, where female owned property represented 19.8% of those analysed compared with 29.3% owned by men. 

Part of the trend across these regions may be associated with the demographics of the area. Across regional WA, ABS census data suggests men make up a majority of the population, albeit a slim majority of 51.7%. The other factor may be the nature of workforce composition across the regions, with higher-paid jobs in regional WA typically concentrated in more ‘male dominated’ fields such as mining and construction. 

Interestingly, there is a slightly more defined relationship at the larger suburb level between rates of female only ownership and typical property values than male only ownership. 

The charts below show scatter graphs plotting the rates of exclusively male or female ownership along the horizontal axis, compared with median dwelling values at January 2021 along the vertical axis. These regions show a positive correlation, with a correlation coefficient of 0.6, between the rate of exclusively female ownership and dwelling values. Meanwhile, rates of male ownership have a slight negative correlation (-0.3) with typical dwelling values. 

Of the 76 suburb markets analysed, there were 7 sub-markets of Australia where rates of exclusively owned female properties were higher than the rate of exclusively owned male properties. The biggest difference was across the ‘Inner South’ region of Melbourne, where 32.6% of property is exclusively owned by females, compared with 27.6% of properties analysed being exclusively owned by men, and 39.9% being jointly owned by males and females. 

The highest rates of exclusively female ownership was in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where the properties analysed saw 34.8% exclusively owned by women, which was higher than the 31.7% of properties thought to be exclusively owned by men. 

There are a few reasons that female ownership may be higher where property values are generally higher, though these can only be inferred before more in-depth, causal analysis. 

One explanation may be that women on higher incomes are more successful in achieving property ownership, because higher income reduces barriers to property ownership. In the same happenstance that men generally have higher earnings and have attained higher rates of dwelling ownership Australia-wide, the regions associated with higher typical dwelling values, which are seemingly more ‘popular’ with women, are also those which have higher median household incomes, according to ABS census data.

Where women have higher incomes, they may have a greater propensity to buy property, in some instances even outpacing property ownership rates of males. This compliments previous research findings on this topic, which have shown that in some instances women actually have a greater tendency for property ownership than men, given equal income.  

A flipside of this argument may be that women have greater access to property ownership in some of these markets, due to the higher incidence of high-density dwellings in regions such as inner-city Sydney and Melbourne, where apartments are typically more affordable than houses.  

This is also supported by the research conducted by Kupke, Rossini, and Yam, which found that the rate of female ownership of property was higher in units than in houses (2012). 

About the author

Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline.  She has more than 20 years’ experience in buying property Australia-wide and has extensive experience in helping buyers use a range of strategies including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in identifying tailored opportunities, homes and sourcing properties that have multiple uses.  She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics.  She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.

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Disclaimer – This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice.  We strongly recommend you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.