Women earn less - but they're dominating SA's property market

Women are now the largest group of property buyers in South Africa, according to Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

According to Lightstone Property statistics, roughly 72 000 residential properties were purchased by single women in South Africa last year, far surpassing the number of homes sold to men (around 62 000) and married couples (around 65 000).

Furthermore, the World Wide Worx 'More Month Than Money' survey, indicates that 66% of South African women are financially responsible for the entire family.

"Not only are women playing more of an active role in managing a home's finances, they are also playing an integral part in the home buying process, now more so than ever before," says Goslett.

"If we look at the breakdown of our website traffic, 64% of our users are women, which suggests that women are most often the ones driving the decision when it comes to purchasing a home."

Buying more, earning less

However, a persistent wage gap is what makes it more challenging for women to enter the property market.

Lightstone Property statistics revealed that, while single women lead in terms of sales volume, they are also most active in the lowest price brackets. This is because they are simply not earning the same as men.

According to the Global Wage Report for 2018/19, women make on average 28% less than their male equals. When it comes to hourly income, South African men make on average 26.1% more than their female counterparts.

"I have no doubt that, as this wage gap narrows, we will inevitably see women become increasingly active within the higher price bands. Quite possibly, the data collected around property sales can therefore be a useful measuring stick to track the progress towards achieving equal pay," says Goslett.

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