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Gender pay gap a challenge for women investing in property

Are women behind on the property ladder?

By Kelvin Davidson 8 March 2024

Women investing in real estate significantly lag their male counterparts in fast-tracking wealth creation through property, an analysis of New Zealand’s home ownership reveals.

CoreLogic’s 2024 Women & Property report released ahead of International Women’s Day, found while women owner occupier rates were higher than men, they fell behind significantly when it came to investment properties. The fourth edition of the report, which provides an update to the state of home ownership for men and women across New Zealand as of January 2024, shows the proportion of women-only owner-occupied properties is 22.9% compared to the male-only owner-occupied figure of 20.7%.

On the contrary, CoreLogic’s examination of investment stock identified women-only property ownership rate fell to 21.6%, while male-only ownership was notably higher at 26.3%.

Gender pay gap a contributing factor

CoreLogic report author and chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said there were several factors explaining the tendency for more men to own investment properties than women, but as suggested in previous reports, pay and financial literacy were two likely contributing factors.

“The gender pay gap means that, in theory at least, males can build financial wealth a bit faster, allowing for earlier and more investment in rental properties,” he said.

“There is some evidence that financial education and literacy is higher among men than women too, potentially giving them more awareness of different options.”

The report found 22.2% of homes across all dwellings are owned exclusively by one or more women, slightly less than the 22.7% owned by males. The remaining 55% of homes have mixed-gender ownership. The 50-basis point gap between women-only and male-only ownership equates to less than 8,000 properties.

A year earlier, the same figures were 22.0%, 22.5%, and 55.5%. Mr Davidson said while these changes since early 2023 are minor, there’s been a small shift towards single gender ownership, for both women and men, with the mixed-gender share dropping by 50 basis points. Previously, 2023’s figure for mixed-gender ownership had been a small rise from 2022.

In terms of property value, women’s stock had a median value of $650,532 in the latest results, versus $675,975 for male-owned dwellings.

Gender-owned property trends in the regions

Of the 14 regions nationally, four have a higher rate of female property owners than the national average. Gisborne has the highest women-only ownership rate, at 24.9%, followed by Auckland at 23.7%, followed by Wellington and Manawatū-Whanganui. The West Coast and Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough are the lowest.

Mr Davidson suspects more affordable apartment living options in cities such as Auckland and Wellington might assist female-only ownership where saving for a deposit and mortgage serviceability is a challenge.

“Other areas of the country, such as the West Coast, are predominantly mining and farming areas, which may attract fewer women-only property owners,” he said.

“Surprisingly more expensive regions such as Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough, is one of six regions where women-only ownership was higher than male-only ownership – 20.2% versus 19.0%.” Women own more property than men in Gisborne, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, Northland, and Bay of Plenty. In Canterbury and Manawatū-Whanganui, the women-only and male-only ownership rates are equal.

Why property ownership matters

At the end of 2021, Stats NZ reported that owner-occupied dwellings and real estate accounted for 43% of total household assets, up from 38% in 2018, underlining the significance of property even amidst housing market fluctuations.

Mr Davidson said tracking rates of home ownership across different segments of society is essential, as home ownership not only contributes to security of tenure but also enhances satisfaction with housing.

“Factors like the gender pay gap, estimated at around 9%, have been identified as potential contributors to the delay in women accumulating assets, especially when it comes to building a deposit for home ownership,” he said.

“Understanding these dynamics is crucial for addressing disparities and fostering a more inclusive and equitable housing landscape.”

Download a copy of the CoreLogic 2024 Women & Property report here.


Kelvin Davidson
Kelvin Davidson

Chief Property Economist, CoreLogic -

Kelvin joined CoreLogic in March 2018 as Senior Research Analyst, before moving into his current role of Chief Economist. He brings with him a wealth of experience, having spent 15 years working largely in private sector economic consultancies in both New Zealand and the UK.

In his role with CoreLogic Kelvin’s focus is on keeping up to date with what’s going on in the property market and continually finding different ways for viewing and interpreting it. Kelvin’s economics background means that he knows his way around a spreadsheet, but more importantly he always puts more emphasis on providing the key insights and telling a story, whether his audience be clients or the media.