Women's buying power reshaping SA property market

"Black women in particular are an important market segment", says Ivins-Downes. (istock)
"Black women in particular are an important market segment", says Ivins-Downes. (istock)
  • There has been a steady increase in women's buying power in the residential property market, according to data analysed by Leadhome.
  • Black women in particular are an important market segment, according to Hayley Ivins-Downes, of property analytics firm Lightstone.
  • More women are first time home buyers in South Africa than men.


There has been a steady increase in women's buying power in the residential property market, according to data analysed by Leadhome.

Leadhome CEO Marcél du Toit says this is fundamentally reshaping the South African property market, which was traditionally dominated by men.

Black women in particular are an important market segment, according to Hayley Ivins-Downes, of property analytics firm Lightstone.

Leadhome's data shows that women account for 45% of all property registrations while 7% are joint registrations.

"Today, there are more women in the workplace than ever before, and they're buying homes - no matter the size of their salary," says Du Toit. "Even when they end up buying jointly with their partners, or in their partner's names, the data suggests that women increasingly have influence and decision-making power, in addition to buying power."           

He says many young women view the buying of property as an investment and an opportunity to build wealth early.
 
More women are first time home buyers in South Africa than men, according to Ivins-Downes, of property analytics firm Lightstone. This has already been the trend for the past six years.

First time women buyers peaked in 2018 at just short of 43 000 (39%) out of a total of 109 816 – and well ahead of the men's total of 32 600 (30%). But while single women purchase more property than any other category of purchaser, women typically lag both multiple buyers and single men when it comes to the average house prices.

The data further reveals that the average price women are paying for property is just short of R500 000, as opposed to the married couple and single male categories where the average price is just less than R600 000; multiple buyers have spent an average of nearly R770 000 this year.

The lower purchasing prices for women could reflect the lower earning capacities of woman still prevalent today and could also be indicative of the number of single mothers, according to Ivins-Downes.
 
Although women begin buying homes before 20 years of age, there is a nearly 400% jump from the 21 to 25 age group to the 26-30 age group, with sales to women peaking in the 31 to 35 age bracket.

After that, there is a gradual decline in purchasing homes as women get older.  This does follow the pattern of bulk property purchasing taking place when earnings rise and when family needs come into play.

While sales to women in estates and sectional title have remained relatively consistent over the past five years, freehold property is by far the most popular – a trend seen across categories and value bands.

Most homes were purchased in Gauteng and Western Cape, where most sales have been recorded in affordable areas and new developments, supporting the view that women home ownership is spreading rapidly in this market segment, according to Ivins-Downes.

Bonds

More women are applying for bonds and triple the number being granted bonds, than was seen 10 years ago. In the last decade, the number of BetterBond's applications from women has increased by 12%, with 40% of all applications received this year being from women. Also, in 2010, only 14% of bond grants were for women, and now that number is sitting at 41%.

"While there is still a gender pay gap in South Africa - men earn an estimated 35% more than women for doing the same work in some professions - it is encouraging to see the significant growth in bond grants for women," says Jenny Rushin, BetterBond's national development manager. "With the current lending environment and interest rates at historic lows, property is now even more accessible to women."

Last year, 60% of BetterBond's applications from women were from single women.

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