Young single women ahead of men when buying property

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Laura Thompson owns two properties in Brisbane and bought her first when she was 27. Photo: Lachie Millard

IT’S the gender gap you hear little about — young single women are becoming new homeowners at a faster rate than men.

New mortgage data showed single millennial women were among the fastest growing category of homeowners in the country.

Men their age, meanwhile, were often waiting until they were settled into long-term relationships before acquiring property.

The different priorities have created a gap in ownership rates among the sexes, with ABS data revealing 60 per cent of women live in homes they own outright or have a mortgage on, compared with 56 per cent of men.

Single female applicants also outnumbered single men in two of the last three years, while equalling men’s participation in the other year, according to Mortgage Choice data.

This was despite women earning less than their male counterparts, on average, and spending more time outside of the workforce due to child rearing commitments.

And the trend shows signs of picking up, with more women than men planning a purchase.

Only 37 per cent of men reported to a recent Finder.com.au poll they thought it was a good time to buy a home, compared with 41 per cent of women.

Earlier Westpac polling revealed a similar trend, with 71 per cent of women planning a purchase in the next five years, compared to 61 per cent of men.

Ofisi Lasalo, managing director of real estate investment company EquityIn, said he had noticed an increase in single women keen to get on to the property ladder.

Ofisi Lasalo, of EquityIn, said he was seeing young, single women gravitate to apartments in areas such as West End. Photo: Mark Calleja

“We’ve had at least a dozen single women in the last year who have purchased their own properties through us. Most have been units in places such as West End, South Brisbane and the city fringes,” he said.

“These women are independent, they are working professionals and they want to get a foothold in the market.”

Mr Lasalo said his single female clients were keen to put their money towards paying off their own properties, rather than a landlord’s mortgage.

“They need to live somewhere, they’re making good money and they’re thinking about their financial future,” he said.

Place New Farm lead agent, Aaron Woolard said from his experience young women tended to be more financially savvy than their male counterparts and were taking advantage of current market conditions and low interest rates.

“We sell a lot of apartments in the New Farm area and young women are a very dominant market we are selling to,” he said.

“Generally they’ve got a good job and they’re living a good lifestyle, so property is the next thing on their list.”

Mr Woolard believed young women saw property as a way to achieve independence.

“I think parents have really driven that ‘get a job, buy property and have your own security’ message,” he said.

“And it’s probably more affordable to buy right now than what it would be to rent.”

Aaron Woolard, of Place New Farm, said young women were taking advantage of favourable market conditions in Brisbane. Picture: Richard Walker

Mr Woolard said in the 10 years he had being selling property in the New Farm area, he had seen women reap the benefits of buying property young.

“We see it a lot where they bought a one-bedroom apartment when they were single. They meet their partner, move on and have some children, but they have that good investment they’ve made good money on.”

Brisbane property owner Laura Thompson said she was pleasantly surprised to hear more young women were choosing to buy real estate on their own.

“I think it’s empowering to hear,” the 34-year-old said.

“It speaks to the increasing strength and increasing independence of women.”

The Kula Health naturopath and massage therapist bought a New Farm apartment on her own when she was 27 and has since bought an investment property in Caboolture.

Ms Thompson said real estate offered financial security and the ability to invest her money in a growing asset.

“My first purchase was as an owner-occupier but the second was purely for investment,” she said.

“I will likely consider investing further in the future as well.”

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said women gravitated more to real estate purchases than men because they were viewed as lower risk than shares and other asset classes.

The bulk of those who were interested in higher risk, higher reward categories of investment were men, she added.

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