Gender gap in buying a first home


Coming hot on the heels of Fawcett’s blog on housing prospects post election, I have uncovered figures that show that female first-time buyers have to work for longer than men in order to save for a deposit.

In a piece for Fledge magazine, an online magazine for first time buyers, I compared information on the size of the average mortgage deposits, released by Halifax UK bank, with government statistics on the average incomes of men and women in their 20s and 30s.

In 2014, the average age of a first time buyer was 30, and average deposit paid by someone entering the housing market for the first time was £29,218.

Because of the gender pay gap, on average, a man in his 30s earns that sum in 11.5 months before tax, compared to 12.5 months for a woman. Of course, once tax and living costs are taken into account, the additional length of time a woman has to work would become significantly longer.

Graph - salaries v house deposits

Although women’s salaries have slowly been converging on men’s over the last five years, there is still a significant gender pay gap, posing an additional barrier to women who would like to get on to the property ladder.

As the Fawcett Society has documented, there are many reasons behind the gender pay gap, including more women occupying roles in low paid sectors such as health and social care, while men occupy more roles in high paying sectors such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

There is also the ‘motherhood penalty’, caused by the fact that women are more likely to work part time due to childcare responsibilities, as well as instances of outright gender discrimination.

There is still so much to do for women to reach real equality with men on pay and issues arising from pay. The fact that women in their 30s, in similar jobs, still earn £1,300 less than the average deposit for a first time buyer says it all really.

Want to learn more? Get the data on average deposits and the gender pay gap. 


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Henry Bird
Henry Bird is a reporter with Fledge magazine, an online for first time buyers