SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s gender pay gap translates to bricks and mortar, with women trailing men in property ownership, new research shows.
A study conducted by CoreLogic found only 26.2 per cent of the more than 4.7 million properties they analysed belonged to women, as opposed to the 29.9 per cent owned by men.
Author of the report Eliza Owen says the results point to a greater level of disadvantage faced by women across a number of areas.
Australia’s residential real estate is estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion, and, according to the latest Reserve Bank figures, the value of housing accounts more than half of household wealth.
“Given there’s a high level of equity held in real estate, if you don’t own property, that’s a big source of household wealth and security you don’t have access to,” she said.
That creates a ‘wealth gap’ that leaves women vulnerable in retirement, she says.
“This wealth gap becomes a particular challenge around retirement, and it’s well documented that if you still have rental or mortgage costs at the time you retire, then you have a much higher incidence of falling into poverty.”
The root of the problem is a disparity in what women are paid over their lifetimes.
The latest ABS data reported that on average men working full time earn 13.4 per cent more than women working full time.
Based on that, it takes women an extra 10 months to save for a 20 per cent house deposit.
Once factoring in the reality that women work less hours, often shouldering the burden of household responsibilities, the pay gap is more like 30 per cent.
While women and men jointly owned 43.9 per cent of the properties analysed, many of those women face disadvantage later in life too.
“Women are more likely to exit property ownership after the dissolution of a marriage and that’s where we see women over 50 among the highest growing rates of homelessness in Australia,” CoreLogic’s financial services general manager Milen Malev said.
The results demonstrate the obvious, she says – more work needs to be done to address the wealth gap between men and women, and better social services are needed to look after the disadvantaged elderly women that result.