Women And Property On The Surf Coast

Did you know that in 1884 Victoria became the first Australian colony to allow women the right to own property?

That said, it was restricted to married women only. Fast forward to the 1970s and many women were still routinely required to have a male guarantor in order to get a mortgage. We take a look at the state of women and property ownership here on the Surf Coast today.

Are Australian women buying property?

They are – and in greater numbers than ever before.

New data from CoreLogic reveals that the number of property purchases made by women is rising. In 2021, 28.3% of property acquisitions were made by women, compared to 27.4% in 2020 and 27.3% in 2019.

Meanwhile, research from ME Bank shows that the percentage of single women applying for a mortgage rose by 1% last year, putting them virtually neck and neck with single men when it came to buying property in 2021. The average loan size for single women also increased last year to reach $411,752.

Here on the Surf Coast, where females make up 51.3% of the population, we have a good proportion of female property buyers. Take, for example, local Olivia Nicholls. A steely focus on her property goal and a strict savings plan enabled her to buy a parcel of land in Torquay in 2017 when she was just 19 years old. After building a brand-new house on her block, she was a proud homeowner by the age of 22.

But as a female owner of a detached house, Olivia is bucking the trend. CoreLogic reports that men are more likely to own a freestanding house than women, with 28.5% of houses owned by men compared to 24% owned by women. Women, on the other hand, own more units (35.2%) than men (24.7%).

How does female property ownership compare to male ownership?

The proportion of Australian real estate owned by women, while still lower than that possessed by men, is also on the rise.

The CoreLogic research shows that as of January 2022, 26.6% of Australian property has female ownership. That’s up slightly on the 2021 figure of 26.2%. Meanwhile, male ownership accounted for 29.9% of real estate, while joint male and female ownership was the most common at 43.5%.

How does the Surf Coast stack up?

In CoreLogic’s analysis, regional Victoria came out on top in terms of the smallest difference between female / male home ownership rates. Male property ownership (27.7%) was only one percentage point higher than female ownership (26.8%), the smallest difference of any of the Australian capital cities and regions included in the study. However, both rates were low compared to joint ownership by men and women, which was 45.4%.

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The numbers for the Geelong statistical area, which takes in the Surf Coast Shire, tell a similar story – but with one major difference. Like regional Victoria, the difference between male and female property ownership rates is only one percentage point – but, bucking the nationwide trend, here it’s women who own more property than men. The portion of property owned exclusively by women in the Geelong statistical area was 27.3%, compared to 26.3% owned exclusively by men. Meanwhile, 25.2% of property in our area is owned by a sole female owner, while 24.4% has a sole male owner. The portion of property owned jointly by men and women is 46.4%, higher than both the national figure (43.5%) and the regional Victorian number (45.4%).

What about investment properties?

The Surf Coast, with its gorgeous beaches, tranquil bush and proximity to Melbourne, is popular with buyers looking for investment properties, holiday houses or second homes, which, of course, has led to increased demand in our local market.

And it’s investment properties where the gap between female and male ownership really opens up, which makes our area’s rates of female home ownership even more impressive. According to CoreLogic, women own 29.1% of Australia’s investment properties, while men own 36.4%. This disparity accounts for around 70% of the difference between female and male property ownership here in Australia.

Why do fewer women than men own property?

According to CoreLogic, the gender pay gap may be the single most significant hurdle to female property ownership. The latest ABS data, released in November 2021, shows Australian men earn, on average, 13.8% more than women, meaning it could take a woman ten months longer to save a home deposit than a man.

And why is it an issue if rates of female property ownership are lower than for men? Because property is a key driver of wealth in Australia. Lower rates of female property ownership suggest that Australian women’s overall financial well-being and ability to afford a comfortable retirement may be impacted.

How can we help?

As a local all-female team, we’re here to help women navigate the Surf Coast property market.

If you’re looking for guidance or advice about selling, buying, investing or renting here on the Surf Coast, please always feel free to get in touch.