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A new study has found that women are unable to afford buying or renting houses in England without help.
Property price increases and the gender pay gap means that there is no English region where a single woman on median earnings can afford to rent or buy an averagely priced house.
The report from the Women’s Budget Group and the Women’s Housing Forum found that women would need more than 12 times their average salary in order to purchase an average house, while men would need just over 8 times their annual salary.
The regions with the widest gender gap in affordability are the South East and the East. This is where the pay gap between men and women – as measured by gross annual earnings of full time and part time workers – is the largest.
The least affordable regions for both men and women were unsurprisingly found to be London and the South East. Here women would need 18 times their average salary to afford the average house, and men 16 times.
The study also showed that when it comes to buying a house with an average mortgage, female incomes fall over 50 per cent short in most regions, excluding in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. Men’s incomes on the other hand only fall over 50 per cent short in London and the South East.
It is a similar story when it comes to renting property, with not even one region in England where the average home to rent is affordable for a woman on median earnings. The average home to rent is affordable for men on median earnings in every region except London and the South East.
On a national basis average rents take 43 per cent of women’s median earnings and 28 per cent of men’s salaries.
Dr Sara Reis, the study’s author, said: ‘Although women and men tend to buy or rent their homes as a couple, women are likely to find themselves unable to afford a home of their own if that relationship breaks down.’
She continued: ‘We are calling on central government to invest in social housing to spread the benefits of the housing safety net more widely and save billions of pounds in housing benefit.’