Residential  

Mortgage affordability gap between sexes narrows

Mortgage affordability gap between sexes narrows

The gap between mortgage affordability for men and women is at its smallest since the financial crisis, figures from eMoov have shown.

Rising salaries for women mean the gap between affordability compared to their male counterparts stands at 12 per cent – down from 17 per cent in 2009, according to eMoov.

But rising house prices mean affordability – calculated at four-and-a-half times the average salary - has declined for both genders since 2012.

Mortgage affordability for men was 65 per cent of the average house price in 2016, while for women it was 53 per cent - down from 79 per cent and 62 per cent respectively in 2009.

Founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk Russell Quirk said: “It’s a welcome sight that the gap in salary between men and women, and in turn mortgage affordability, has started to close over the last few years, but a gap remains none the less. 

“Homeownership provides enough hurdles for the current generation of first and second-time buyers as it is, without gender having to play a role.

“The only saving grace is that many are in the position to buy with their partner and so the combined mortgage affordability of both is enough to see them onto that first rung of the ladder.

“While the increasing growth in property values due to a severe lack of supply is an issue the second side to it is the lack of growth in the average wage. If this was addressed, it would at least go some way in bridging the gap for those struggling to buy at present.”

eMoov based the wage data on figures from the Office for National Statistics and house prices on the Land Registry Index.

Ruth Whitehead, principal at London-based Ruth Whitehead Associates, said: “We know there is considerable lack of parity between wages for men and women – of course that affects their affordability. It is obvious that, generally speaking, women can’t buy as big a property as men.

“If you earn less, then your mortgageability is less – tell us something we don’t know. It is all pretty boring.”

Ms Whitehead added that the recent figures from the BBC revealing the gender pay gap between its stars showed there was still a lot of work to be done to level the playing field.

simon.allin@ft.com