Widening Gender Pay Gap And Property Increases Adversely Affecting Women

Women are one of the main victims of the housing crisis as the gender pay gap and soaring prices have had considerable effects on housing affordability.

Women on a median UK salary fall over 50% short of affording an averagely priced home in the majority of regions in the UK. The only regions they can afford to purchase a home is in the North East, North West and Yorkshire.

In comparison, the only regions an average salaried man falls over 50% short of housing affordability is in London and the South East.

The huge disparity in earnings between men and women means that a single woman, on an average income, needs to borrow over 12 times their annual salary in order to purchase a home. Although men still require eight times their annual salary which also takes them out of lending viability maximum of six times an annual income, the plight of a single woman on an average income is severe.

Based on the averagely priced house of £239,000, the ratio of house price to annual earnings for a woman is 12.4. In comparison for a man it is 8.4, leaving a gender gap difference of 4.2 annual earnings per average house.

Given that the majority of single women are unable to easily acquire a mortgage on their own, many could be forced into the private rental sector (PRS). Whilst this may be a more affordable way to live in a property as a single person, every region is unaffordable for a woman with an average UK income of less than £20,000 per year.

Renting is considered affordable when the monthly rent takes less than a third of a monthly wage. There is no region in England where privately-rented housing is affordable on a woman’s median earnings.

In comparison, renting is available to the average male wage in all regions except London.

The report recommends the Government invest more in social housing in order to ‘spread the benefits of the housing safety net,’ and central Government should make it easier for local authorities to invest in housing.

Dr Sara Reis, author of the report, said:

“Housing is one of the most urgent public policy issues in the UK with large number of people pushed into poverty by housing costs or unable to afford to rent or buy. But our report shows that this crisis of housing affordability is far worse for women than for men.   Although women and men tend to buy or rent their homes as a couple, women are likely to find themselves unable to afford a home of their own if that relationship breaks down. We are calling on central government to invest in social housing to spread the benefits of the housing safety net more widely and save billions of pounds in housing benefit.”

Denise Fowler, Chief Executive of Women’s Pioneer Housing and Co-Chair of the Women’s Housing Forum, commented: 

“This report highlights the link between providing women with safe, secure, good quality, affordable accommodation and the wider fight for women’s equality. Without a safe secure affordable home of her own no woman can achieve her potential.  I hope it will be a call to action across the UK.”

How significant an issue is the housing crisis for women? Have you noticed a need for many women to co-rent or buy in order to successfully house themselves?

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