It's a well known fact that women are more likely to retire with less superannuation than men. But new research shows that savvy Australian women are making up for what they lack in superannuation, by investing in real estate.

Today, nearly half (47%) of Australians who own investment property are women, according to an analysis of data from the Australian Taxation Office by the Property Council of Australia.

“This might be surprising to many, but it shows that women know that they start off behind the eight ball when it comes to securing their futures,” said Ken Morrison, chief executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“The outcome suggests women are making deliberate decisions to build wealth in addition to superannuation. Housing allows women to rely on the benefits of asset growth even when they might be out of the workforce.”

Women still generally earn less than men – 28.7% less in ASX 200 organisations and 16% less across all companies and occupations, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Nevertheless, they still appear to be determined to acquire property as an investment.

Fifty-five percent of people who earn less than $80,000 and negatively gear their investment properties are now women, compared to just 45% of men earning a similar income.

“Despite the fact that women on average earn considerably less than men, they are just as likely to use investment property to secure their future,” Morrison said. “Many women know that their superannuation won’t be enough to provide for their retirement because they have taken time out of the workforce to raise a family. So they are looking for other ways to build financial security.

Marion Mays, founder of Thalia Stanley Group, said previously women were outnumbered, making up only about a third of investors. However, many women are now realising that when it comes to planning their financial future, a “man is not a plan”.

“Now more and more women are finding a love for investing and [are] becoming more proactive and resourceful about their financial position and [are] using property to secure their financial future,” Mays said. “A common response from women in the past has been that they leave that sort of thing to their partners, and they hold back because of a lack of investment know-how and the fear of making costly mistakes.”

The Property Council found that 15.2% of female taxpayers own an investment house or apartment, compared to 15.7% of male taxpayers. Additionally, 45% of these female investors negatively gear their purchase, compared to 55% of men. Men claim significantly more in deductions - $9,904 on average compared to $7,253 for women. This is likely reflective of the gender pay gap, with women not borrowing as much and likely being subjected to a different risk assessment by the banks.

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