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By Diana Alam

Director of Sales and Marketing , NHG Homes


Mind the gap: single women in London have less saved for a deposit

Women in London who are looking to get on the property ladder face significant challenges that prevent them from buying a home, in a sign of gender disparity among first-time buyers.

Research by NHG Homes found that one in two women looking to buy a home in London (48%) think access to savings is one of their biggest challenges to getting on the property ladder, perhaps due to the significantly lower deposits available to them. 

The research also found women are 10% less likely to purchase a home on their own, with only 39% of those surveyed planning to buy solo.


NHG Homes, part of housing association Notting Hill Genesis, partnered with Opinium to survey 500 renters in London who were looking to buy their first home.  The research looked to understand the key considerations of first-time buyers, including perceived barriers and key motivations for home ownership.

With London being the most expensive city in the UK to buy a home, it is unsurprising that almost half of those surveyed selected affordability as one of the largest barriers to home ownership. 

While this was the case for both men and women – 47% and 49% respectively – the research showed the difference between the amount of money held for a deposit and the amount needed to buy through the open market was greater for female first-time buyers than men, highlighting the challenge of housing affordability in the capital for women.

Money in the bank

The research found that, on average, men looking to get onto the property ladder have access to £27,545 for a home deposit while for women this number drops over 25% to £20,025. 

Between single men and women in London, the deposit gap is greater still, standing at over £11,500.

The research found that just over 75% of men and women surveyed were saving money for a deposit on their first home, but that one in two women looking to buy a home in London (48%) said access to savings is one of their biggest barriers to making this a reality.

Women looking to get on the property ladder in London are also saving for a home deposit in different ways to men in the same position.

When asked how they’re planning to fund a deposit to purchase a home, single women were 15% less likely than single men to set aside money from their main income. 

When looking at all those surveyed, women were also 6% more likely than men to name ‘not having a steady income’ as one of the main obstacles to getting on the property ladder.  To combat this gender disparity among first-time buyers, many women have been taking on second jobs, with 46% of single women saying they have taken on extra work to fund a deposit compared to 40% of single men.

Forced to reconsider

With the goal of home ownership in London seeming unattainable to women struggling to save the large sums of money required for a deposit, many are moving away from the dream of getting onto the capital’s property ladder.

These challenges mean large numbers of women are being forced to make tough choices when it comes to major life milestones. 

Nearly two thirds (61%) of women surveyed said they would delay going travelling to purchase a home, compared to only 44% of men who would do the same, and a quarter (24%) said they were willing to postpone starting a family.  Nearly a third of single women said they would push back a wedding (31%) to get on the property ladder – this compares to only 13% of men who would be willing to make the same sacrifice.

To help women get on the property ladder sooner and avoid compromising on their varied personal goals, Shared Ownership offers a more accessible route to home ownership with the amount required for a deposit being much smaller than buying on the open market – it can be as low as four figures. 

Insight from NHG Homes has shown that 49 per cent of people buying through the scheme between 2021 and 2023 were women which is around 10 per cent higher than the national average for quotes given to first-time buyer mortgages. 

It was really important to us that our research provided a deeper insight into the first-time buyer experience in London to assess what we can do not just as a provider of affordable homes, but as an industry to help make home ownership in the city more accessible.

The gender gap among first-time buyers is striking and this research has brought to light how the housing affordability crisis is disproportionately impacting women in the capital.

Put down roots

The findings highlight why Shared Ownership can be such a powerful route to home ownership for women in the city who are struggling to get onto the property ladder on the open market.  With the scheme, buyers can put down roots in London for a much lower deposit than what is required through the traditional route.

We are proud to say that half of our Shared Ownership buyers between 2021-2023 were women and we will continue to look at how we can empower and support more people in their journey onto the property ladder in London.

NHG Homes provides high-quality homes across the capital in waterside, parkside and inner-city locations, available through Shared Ownership or private sale.  Using Shared Ownership, first-time buyers can get onto the property ladder in popular, sought-after parts of London with lower deposits than are required on the open market, sometimes as low as four figures, providing a more accessible route to home ownership.


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