Women, millennials disadvantaged in Namibia’s property market
In a new research paper, FNB Namibia’s Market Research Manager, Ruusa Nandago, explained that gender gaps in economic opportunities and wage incomes, for example, mean that women account for a smaller share of household income and are thus less likely to accumulate savings for the purchase of property.
Nandago noted that there have have been concerns that millennials and young working professionals have been excluded from the housing market and may never own homes of their own owing to high levels of unemployment among this demographic.
Historically, transactions in the housing market have been dominated by couples. The data, however, reveals that there has been a sharp decline in the number of housing transactions by this cohort since 2017 with couples accounting for only 28% of all housing transactions in the first half of 2019.
According to Nandago, this decline can be attributed to changing marriage trends characterised by an increasing number of individuals opting to marry later in life or opting not to marry at all.
“Furthermore, there has been a declining trend in the number of couples choosing to marry in community of property and consequently less couples registering joint bonds. This is a strategy which provides some relief in terms of affordability, as it allows individuals to own two properties which can be registered as primary residences, for which no deposit is required. Single men are now the fastest growing group of home owners, accounting for 42% of total transaction volumes. At 30%, the proportion of transaction volumes by single women lags that of single men which is a clear indication of a gender gap in the housing market,” Nandago said.
One of the first discoveries by FNB Namibia is that single men are increasingly dominating transaction volumes, while single women purchase lower priced homes than single men.
“The gender gap in the housing market is further corroborated by gender differentials in the average house price of homes purchased. The data shows that single women have consistently purchased lower priced homes when compared to single men. On average the price of a home purchased by a single woman is 11% lower than that purchased by a single man. In the first half of 2019, the average house price for single women was recorded at N$941 008, while that of single men was recorded at N$1 024 138,” Nandago explained.
Nandago further goes on to say that the average age of a home buyer in Namibia shows a declining trend and the average age has come down to 38 years old, the lowest it has been in 9 years.
“When compared to other jurisdictions, Namibians buy their houses at a much later stage in life. The average age in the UK, for example, is much lower at 30 years while the average age in the US is 32 years old. Interestingly, the average age for single women home buyers (35 years) is slightly lower than that of men (37 years),” she said.