Women twice as likely as men to consider investing: Westpac

Women in property are overtaking men in all aspects of home ownership, including investing, according to a new report from Westpac.

The Home Ownership Report surveyed over 1,000 home owners, and revealed 16 per cent of women have purchased an investment property, compared to to 13 per cent of men, and 22 per cent of women are likely to consider adding to their portfolio and purchase an investment property, compared to 11 per cent of men.

Additionally, 35 per cent of women consider the investment potential of a property as a necessity compared to 10 per cent of men.

The research also shows 90 per cent of female first home buyers strongly believe that owning a home is a measure of success, up by 26 per cent compared to last year, and 43 per cent believe how property is a pathway to wealth, up by 10 per cent compared to last year.

In comparison, 76 per cent of male first home buyers strongly believe that owning a home is a measure of success and 22 per cent believe how property is a pathway to wealth.

The report correlates with the latest ABS housing data, with 60 per cent of women living in homes they own, either on a mortgage or paid off compared to 36 per cent of men, with 23 per cent of women owning their home outright compared to 20 per cent of men.

Felicity Duffy, head of women’s markets for Westpac Group, said that research points to women becoming “savvier in the property market”.

“Women have a lot to take into consideration when it comes to looking after their finances throughout their lifetime,” Ms Duffy said.

“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.”

Helen Collier-Kogtevs, founder of Real Wealth Australia, agreed with that sentiment, also noticing the trend of women becoming more property savvy.

“In their quest to secure their futures, they are not just buying any property, instead they are savvy enough to purchase property with ‘value-add’ potential. They are not afraid to take on a property with renovation or development potential to increase the equity. More and more women are thinking about the long-term strategy of building financial security,” Ms Collier-Kogtevs said.

“As a result, many women are now prepared to get into that renovation and be hands-on with the likes of demolition (great stress relief), painting, landscaping, along with being the budgeter and project manager.

“Women tend to be more vigilant with their research to ensure the deals stack up, as many of them are on lower incomes than their male counterparts, and feel that don’t have the luxury of making a mistake.”

Jan Mason, Defence Housing Australia’s managing director, sees women playing a greater role in property investment. Despite their model revolving around families and couples, women are taking charge.

“What we can say is that anecdotally we are seeing a shift in both the decision-making, and initial thought process, for those looking to invest with DHA,” Ms Mason said.

“Our sales team reports that more and more often, it’s the female member of the couple that is making the initial enquiry. They will register through our website and often they are the one that makes the final decision to purchase.”

Ms Collier-Kogtevs said she has seen a similar trend in women taking the charge in making investment decisions.

“Many women are viewing property investment and home ownership as a wealth-creation strategy,” she said.

“I am seeing many women: friends, family, colleagues and clients, that have now realised that a ‘man is not a retirement plan’ and are choosing to take control of their own finances and securing their own financial future.”

Ms Mason also pointed out the financial challenges women face with the national gender pay gap currently at 18.2 per cent, investing is one avenue they can pursue to add to their wealth.

“What has changed, and I think this bares some significance, is that Australian women are now more independent and more educated,” she said.

“They understand the financial challenges that they [encounter] in building wealth, and they are actively looking to address these issues by diversifying their income stream.”

For women interested in entering the property market, Ms Collier-Kogtevs’ top tip is to start now.

“The earlier they start investing, the longer the property has to grow and they may experience a number of growth cycles,” she said.

She also recommended to:

  • Find out what your borrowing potential is from the banks and to understand what the impact of your debt levels are;
  • Clear up your goals and ensure they can be realistically achieved;
  • Find a property investor mentor with a successful portfolio and learn from them; and
  • Avoid the “get rich quick” schemes and do not always believe everything you see online.

By Sasha Karen | Source: Smart Property Investment

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