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How much more it costs women to get on the housing ladder than men

File photo dated 05/10/15 of letting and for sale signs outside flats, as first-time buyer mortgage payments are close to levels seen around the run-up to the financial crisis, in terms of the proportion of take-home pay being swallowed up by the home loan, according to a building society. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday January 13, 2023. Nationwide Building Society said that, based on first-time buyers having a 20% deposit, mortgage payments take up around 39% of their take-home pay typically, compared with a long-run average of 29% seen over the past 40 years. See PA story MONEY Affordability. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Houses are far more unaffordable for women than men in every single region of the UK as a result of the gender pay gap, according to a new report.

Women will have to wait longer to save for a deposit and be able to borrow less through a mortgage than men on average, according to a paper from Schroders.

The impact is also spread unequally across the country, with women facing the biggest gender disadvantage in the East of England and the smallest in Scotland.

Average house costs 14.1 times the average woman’s salary in London, Schroders found. Men, by contrast, face house prices that are 12 times their income.


Sara Reis, of the Women’s Budget Group, a non-profit, said that although homes are most unaffordable in London in cash terms, women face the biggest difference in housing affordability to men in the East of England.

The South East and South West also have among the worst gender gaps in housing affordability, she said.

Scotland had the smallest gender divide, according to Schroders. Here, homes cost 6.1 times women’s average earnings, compared to 5.4 times men’s.

Women are not only typically paid less per hour than men, but they are also more likely to work part-time. Both of these factors mean they have lower earnings overall.

Jo Wittams, of The Equality Trust, a non-profit, said the problem is becoming even worse because of the cost of living crisis.

“Mortgage rates and rents are increasing whilst most workers face real terms pay cuts. This particularly impacts on women because they earn less on average compared to men.”

Nationally, homes cost nine times average earnings, according to analysis by investment firm Schroders. The last time they were this expensive relative to earnings was in 1876.

The national house price to earnings ratio hit a low of 2.2 in 1919 and then climbed in broad terms over the 20th century as the mortgage market expanded.

But sluggish wage growth and low interest rates in the wake of the financial crisis, followed by the pandemic property boom, mean the affordability crunch has now become even more stretched.