Women fall behind in home ownership

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Women are less likely to be the sole owner of a house in New Zealand than men.Female hand on handle, opening or closing door

Property and analysis company CoreLogic’s report Women and Property: State of Play concludes that the gender pay gap of 9.5 percent is a prime reason for the different ownership levels.

Despite a bigger gender pay gap in Australia of 13.5 percent, women across the Tasman were more likely to own their own property than their New Zealand counterparts.

Women represent 17.4 percent of sole property ownership in New Zealand, compared to 19.2 percent for men, the study found.

The difference of 1.8 percent amounted to more than 31,000 more properties owned solely by men than women in New Zealand, where 1.7 million properties were analysed.

“It may seem small, but when you look at the flow-on effects in the real world, that wealth is created through the working life, and the ability of people to self-provide in retirement means that women are less able to do that, CoreLogic New Zealand country manager Simone Moors told Midday Report.

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She said the gender pay gap directly affected women’s ability to buy a home.

In Australia, sole home ownership by women was 24.1 percent, compared with 27.7 percent in male ownership, while 43.9 percent of properties were in shared male-female ownership.

“It may be for a number of reasons,” Moors said. “Typically it may be that Australian do earn more than New Zealand women and it also could be the types of property and the cost of property.

“Australian women tend to have higher ownership in cities, where there’s more flats and apartments, so it could be the affordability of that – they can afford to buy on a single income whereas women in New Zealand are less able to do that.”

Businesses could play a part in looking to reduce the gender pay gap and financial institutions could make products available to help people save at a younger age, she said.

Moors said there was also a need to broaden provisions for those who do not have access to the property market.

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“Such as social provisions for women who may have recently exited property ownership as a result of a relationship breakdown, and an increase to KiwiSaver provisions for those who have been unable to buy a property during their working life.”

Shared male-female ownership accounted for 56.8 percent of New Zealand properties and a further 2.9 percent were in joint female ownership, the study found.

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