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Graham Awards


Women priced out of buying and renting in much of England - claim

Rising house prices 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.

That’s the main finding of a new report from the Women’s Budget Group and the Women’s Housing Forum.

With regard to the sales market, women need over 12 times their annual salaries to be able to buy a home in England, while men need just over eight times.


The worst regions in housing buying affordability for women and men are London and the South East, where women need nearly 18 times and men 16 times their annual earnings to afford a house respectively.

The regions with the widest gap in affordability between women and men are the South East and the East. This is where the gender pay gap - as measured by gross annual earnings of full time and part time workers - is the largest.

The report also looks at the median earnings by region and how far median earnings for men and women in each region fall short of income required for a mortgage. 

The findings show that when it comes to buying a house with an average mortgage, women’s 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 only fall over 50 per cent short in London and the South East.

With regard to the private rental sector, the report says there is 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.

Across England as a whole average rents take 43 per cent of women’s median earnings and 28 per cent of men’s.

On the subject of homelessness, the report states that the vast majority of people recorded sleeping rough are men - 84 per cent - but it says that women rough sleepers face specific challenges and their experience is very often linked to abuse, trauma and violence.

“They are less likely to access mainstream services and be visible on the streets” says the report. 

The study’s author, Dr Sara Reis, says: “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. 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.”


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