The gender pay gap UK: lower average female salary means women have to save two years longer than men to buy a home

The gender pay gap, combined with London’s notoriously high property prices, have formed an impenetrable barrier for many women who want to take the first step on to the capital’s property ladder on their own.

A new report ahead of International Woman’s Day this Friday reveals how, as a result of lower average earnings, it takes the average woman living in rental accommodation in London more than two years longer than the average man to save a deposit to buy their first home.

The lower average pay of women also restricts not just when they can buy, but also the size of the property they can afford.

According to the new data from the website Compare My Move, men in Greater London save £123 more a month, meaning it takes one year and 10 months longer for women to become homeowners if they are buying by themselves.

Britain’s worst towns and cities for female first-time buyers

The study shows that London was in the top five worst towns and cities in Britain for female first-time buyers to purchase a property.

“Unaffordable” Cambridge: women save for nearly 12 years for a deposit in the university city (Daniel Lynch)

The other cities were Cambridge, Oxford, Slough and Brighton & Hove.

In fact, in all 13 of the UK’s biggest towns and cities, female first-time buyers must spend an extra year or more saving compared to their male counterparts.

“In areas where house prices greatly outstrip the wages of millennials, all first-time buyers find it particularly difficult to get on the property ladder,” the report says. “But the pay gap means a dire situation is compounded for female first-time buyers.”

Based on the average earnings for 22-29 year olds across London it takes a male in the capital six years and four months to save for the average 10 per cent first-time buyer deposit of £41,374 compared with eight years and two months for a female buyer.

Other data from the mortgage broker Coreco also demonstrates the gulf between the salaries of the sexes and the impact this has on mortgage applications.

The average earnings for the first applicant on a mortgage application is £91,292 for men compared with £59,036 for women.

“This means, of course, that when applying for a mortgage, unless buying with a partner or a friend, a woman’s borrowing capacity is less,” says mortgage broker Andrew Montlake of Coreco.

Pushing female first-time buyers out

This has wider implications, he argues, and may mean that some prospective female buyers end up looking to buy in different areas and possibly further out of London.

“It is a difficult thing for mortgage lenders on their own to address. For example, it would be hard to have separate income multiples for women and men.

“It is really the case that as a society we have to keep breaking down barriers and not accept any pay difference in any industry between a man and a woman doing a similar job,” Montlake adds.

However the situation is far worse in Cambridge, dubbed the most “unaffordable” city in the UK.

It takes a woman 11 years and nine months to save a big enough deposit for her first home in the university city — three years and eight months longer than her male counterpart.

The best place for female first-time buyers

Dundee tops the list of 51 places as a city which approaches equality of savings, with females having to save only for an extra month more than their male counterparts.

The Scottish city has the smallest gender pay gap, coupled with the highest level of expendable income for millennials.


Number One: Caird Hall in Dundee. The Scottish city is tops for equality of savings between the sexes (Alamy)

Low rents and a lower cost of living allow both males and females in Dundee to save the largest amount each month, more so than areas with better pay.

Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow in Scotland and Newport and Swansea in Wales are the top five best places for female first-time buyers to save for a deposit when renting.

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