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Gender trends shifting in Australian property market

05 February, 2018

Women leading the way when it comes to planning home ownership.

Women across Australia are taking over the reins when it comes to the property market, with findings from Westpac’s annual Home Ownership Report showing women are now significantly more likely than men to be considering a range of housing actions1 in the next five years (71% vs men 61%).


The research surveyed over 1,000 Australian home owners and first home buyers about their home ownership aspirations over the next five years. The latest report shows women are taking the lead across the board, including buying a home to live in (28% vs men 20%), buying an investment property (16% vs men 13%), renovating (29% vs men 27%), and selling a home (17% vs men 14%).


This is supported by the latest ABS housing statistics, which show 60% of women live in homes they own outright or are paying the mortgage off on, compared to 56% of men, and more women (23%) than men (20%) own their homes outright2.


Female attitudes towards home ownership have also seen a major shift in the past year, with significant increases in female first home buyers who strongly believe that ‘owning your own home is a reflection of your success in life’ and that ‘property is a pathway to wealth’, increasing by 26% and 10% respectively since 20163. Women are also more likely to strongly believe both statements than their male counterparts4.


Head of Women’s Markets for Westpac Group, Felicity Duffy, said that many women are increasingly looking to build their wealth through purchasing an investment property or buying a home.


“Women have a lot to take into consideration when it comes to looking after their finances throughout their lifetime. Whether it’s taking time out of the workforce to have children or care for elderly relatives, concerns about gender pay gap issues or just living longer lives, all these things can impact a woman’s short term and long term financial security,” Ms Duffy said.


“It seems women are becoming savvier in the property market, and understand that home ownership can lead to greater financial security. Our research also suggests that women are outpacing men when it comes to property investment.”  


Finding a home that is move-in ready has become less essential to female first home buyers, decreasing by 19%5 since 2016, while male first home buyers are more likely to consider this an essential, suggesting women may be more willing to undertake a renovation project than men.


This report also shows female first home buyers were twice as likely as men to consider good investment potential in a home as essential (35% vs men 18%) and were also twice as likely to consider buying an investment property in the next five years (22% vs men 11%).


“Westpac has a proud tradition of supporting women to meet their home ownership goals and we are excited to see more women taking the reins in the property market. We also offer a number of market-leading products and services specifically designed to support and recognise women when it comes to home ownership,” Ms Duffy said.


“Westpac last year set the industry benchmark, making it standard practice to recognise paid parental leave and return to work income for home lending, recognising and supporting women when they need it most. To date, more than 1360 families have benefited from the new practice.”


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About the research

The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,047 Home Owners and First Home Buyers. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission based panel, between 18 and 23 September 2017. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A house-related action is defined as renovating, selling a home, downsizing, buying a home, buying an investment property or upsizing


1A house-related action is defined as renovating, selling a home, downsizing, buying a home, buying an investment property or upsizing

2Australian Bureau of Statistics, Gender Indicators, Australia, Sep 2017  

343% women in 2017 vs 34% women in 2016, 31% women in 2017 vs 28% women in 2016

443% women vs men 22% in 2017, 31% women vs men 20% in 2016

533% women in 2017 vs 40% women in 2016