Let me start this article by acknowledging that while strides have been made towards gender equality in the homebuying, investment and finance spaces, there’s still plenty do. The reality is that women remain on the back foot when it comes to financial independence and the property market. As recently as the 1960s and 70s, the idea of a woman fronting up without their partner to a banker and securing a loan would have been viewed as highly unlikely.
While the extremes of those days are behind us, there’s no doubt we need to do more. This is exemplified in the investment space by recent research.
The Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) released results from their 2022 Investor Sentiment Survey. It was the first time that respondents were asked for their gender in the survey’s eight-year history, and it indicated only 27 per cent of women were investment property owners. It could reasonably be inferred this figure would have been even less in previous surveys too.
Chair of PIPA, Nicola McDougall, said of the research, “Society has changed significantly since the days when women stayed at home to look after their children while their husbands were the main breadwinners.
“However, more and more research and lived experiences are proving that the financial outcomes for women are generally going to be poorer than men – and especially for those who separate or divorce.”
The inequity of the situation is also backed up by a 2021 report from CoreLogic which revealed the gender pay gap continues to have direct correlation to the gender wealth gap. Their study drew on ABS data showing a gender pay gap of 13.4 per cent in favour of men. This means blokes already have a head start when seeking a loan for a home or investment.
A 2022 study by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency also revealed that more elderly women than men are living in poverty in Australia and that they are also more likely to re-enter the workforce following retirement because of financial constraints.
The research went on to explain that women are twice as likely as men to sell their house and move to lower-cost accommodation because of tight financial circumstances in retirement. The ability to secure a home or investment sooner could have reduced this imbalance.
All this data demonstrates that despite progress being made, women are still being held back in the property stakes and it is impacting their post-employment life. As we go forward, ensuring both that these gaps are closed, and female real estate ownership is supported, will be paramount.
Should single women purchase solo?
I believe single women should have a simpler time purchasing, but there are some challenges for them to overcome.
Firstly, it can’t be denied that it’s easier to secure a loan as a couple than as a single. A two-income household looks much healthier on the application. In addition, costs are shared around housing and other essentials. This all creates more financial buffer for servicing any borrowings.
But there are a few unique challenges beyond the pay gap for single women too. For example, if a woman chooses to have children and solo parent, their costs go up dramatically with no additional financial support from a partner. Also, they will likely need to spend some time away from their profession, which adds to their financial stress now while affecting their long-term earning potential.
How can a mortgage broker help?
Securing a loan and getting approval to purchase a property is assessed on the numbers only, so your gender should have no impact on the way the bank defines you in terms of a loan risk. However, the foundational inputs you use to fill out that application are, as we can see, affected by gender.
It is imperative for single women to utilise the specialist skills of a mortgage broker. We are experienced in analysing your available resources and plans. We can highlight strategies to ensure you present the best possible application to a stable of financiers. We can also sort through the available loan products and help select one that will fit your needs now and in the future.
In addition, we can assist in managing the loan approval process by making certain all the lender’s questions are answered.
Having professional help when it comes to securing a loan is beneficial for any applicant, but as a single woman seeking to buy a home or investment, we are an essential choice for a successful outcome.
Finding a great broker requires a little effort on your part, but it will pay handsome dividends in terms of finance success. If you’re looking to secure funds for your next purchase, why not reach out to our team at Intuitive Finance for a chat.
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