Women are leading the property market – and in more ways than one.
While women may make up less than 47 per cent of Australians who own investment property, they have consistently outperformed men during the past decade.
Just last year, women outperformed men by 0.4 percentage points (40 basis points) on investment properties.
What this means, in lay terms, is that women are earning better interest.
It’s speculated that the main reason women have delved into investment properties with such gusto is due to the gender pay gap, which, for full-time employment, currently sits at 15.3 per cent.
This means that women, on average, will have to work 12 years longer than men to secure the same amount of finance for retirement.
But this is only part of the equation. It’s a long-established fact that in families, it’s the woman who makes the bulk of the financial decisions, not because she’s the bigger earner, but because she’s more intimately acquainted with the family’s needs.
It’s therefore left to the woman to carry what feminists and psychologists call the “mental load”.
“Based on our experiences with clients, female investors understand the extensive research methodology used to evaluate property, interpret and accept the reasoning behind recommendations provided and then, how to move on to the contract,” is how Susan Farquhar, managing director of Calla Property, explains it.
“In comparison, men generally want to know the next ‘hot spot’ to invest in, leading to sub-optimal decisions. Women tend to seek property locations with minimal risk and lower returns.” she says.
“Essentially they want deeper insights into their properties, so they can make smarter choices and have solid returns from their investments.”
But before we start throwing around old-fashioned ideas about women being “naturally” careful, it might be wise to look at why exactly women are making such prudent decisions. The reason is because they have to. “Women want to focus on life priorities” says Farquhar, “such as saving and investing for retirement or their child’s [tertiary education], not on outsmarting the market.”
Sonya Taylor, whose family has three investment properties in Bendigo, is not surprised by by these results. “Women do make smart risks,” she says, noting that “someone else is paying the loan for our long-term gain.” Taylor also recommends other women consider investing in property. “It’s a long-term investment, and while shares go up and down you’re at least going to get your money back as property prices are always going up.”