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Mortgage affordability gap: men can borrow 12% more than women

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Male mortgage affordability has been 72% of the average house price, 15% higher than women at 57% over the last ten years, illustrating the pay gap between the sexes in the UK.

The research from online estate agent eMoov.co.uk looked at the pay gap between men and women and how that affected the size of mortgage they could borrow as a percentage of the average house price over the decade.

The gap between male and female affordability peaked at 17% in 2009 with the male salary rising to a 79% share of a mortgage on the average house price, to just 62% for women, with the higher threshold of affordability largely due to the market crash.

The deficit has remained at around 15% until 2013. It has reduced since then, but still remains at 12%.

The study used the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for the average wage between 2006 and 2016 for both men and women, and then looked at their mortgage affordability at 4.5 times that wage. eMoov then showed the difference in mortgage availability as a percentage of the average house price at the time.

As house prices are finding their way back to their pre-crash peaks again, mortgage affordability for the average salary has fallen to 65% for men and 53% for women today.

‘Level the playing field for homebuyers of all genders’

“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,” said Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov.

“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,” added Quirk.

According to David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages, one of the serious knock-on effects of a gender pay gap is in the impact on the ability to buy a home.

“The fact that house prices have at times been rising more quickly than all wages means that first-time buyers face a serious challenge in getting on the ladder. A gender pay gap will only exacerbate that problem for female buyers,” he said.

“Lenders are interested in the numbers of income, outgoings and the individuals risk profile in reaching a decision on affordability. As the pay gap in society decreases then it should hopefully level the playing field for homebuyers of all genders,” he added.