A Home of Her Own: Housing and Women

Date Posted: Monday 8th July 2019

AusterityHousingViolence Against Women And Girls

Housing is one of the most urgent public policy issues in the UK . Our housing system is in crisis and the causes and impacts of that crisis are gendered. The report A home of her own, women and housing shows that housing is unaffordable for women in every English region. 

Read the full report here 

Read the executive summary here

You can find the slides from the launch event here.

For renters

  • There is no region in England where the average home to rent is affordable for a woman on median earnings.[1]
  • 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% of women’s median earnings and 28% of men’s.

When buying a house

  • 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 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.

Mortgage eligibility:

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.  Our findings show that:

  • When it comes to buying a house with a typical mortgage, women’s incomes fall over 50% short in most regions, excluding in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • Men’s incomes only fall over 50% short in London and the South East.

Social Security and Housing

  • Reforms since 2012 have broken the link between rent and housing benefit levels, with 90% of private renters on housing benefit in 2015 facing shortfalls.[2]
  • Women make up 60% of housing benefit claimants and so are being disproportionately affected by these cuts.
  • Universal credit is also having a negative impact. the five-week wait period on application is leaving many people in rent arrears: tenants on universal credit are six times more likely to fall behind on rent than other benefit claimants.[3]
  • The benefit cap has a detrimental impact on large families’ incomes, and specifically on housing, as housing benefit is the first element to be cup once the threshold is reached.
  • These benefit cuts and changes, accompanied by a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, are leading to increasing numbers of evictions and homelessness.[4]

Women and Homelessness

  • The vast majority of people recorded sleeping rough are men (84%).[5] However, women rough sleepers face specific challenges and their experience is very often linked to abuse, trauma and violence.[6] They are less likely to access mainstream services and be visible on the streets.
  • The majority of statutory homeless people are women (67%).[7]
  • Single mothers are two-thirds (66%) of all statutory homeless families with children (they are just one quarter of all families with dependent children).

The press release for the report can be found here.