Is real estate investing gendered?

Posted July 7, 2022, 11:05 amUpdated July 7, 2022 at 12:08 p.m

Financial equality between women and men is a long struggle. According to INSEE, the wage gap in the private sector and in equivalent full-time employment is still 16.8% between men and women.

Not surprisingly, capital in general reproduces this discrimination, as women’s financial status is 15% lower. Even worse, rental property highlights the gap between the two sexes, with a small 35% of landlords being women.

But the difference in wages does not explain everything…

Women prefer preventive savings

First, it is the behavior of savings. According to the latest Opinionway study for Atland and FundImmo, published in 2021, 80% of women consider themselves to be “cautious investors”. They prefer investments that offer lower returns and lower risk.

Why? Two factors: weak financial culture and fear of making the wrong choice. This makes women lose interest in certain products. The lack of female role models in finance also contributes to their lack of confidence in certain investments. Two-thirds of women would like to know more about these issues (source: Opinionway).

Interesting investors

However, let’s avoid unnecessary generalizations: in other assets with extreme volatility, women are most interested. According to a 2022 CapGemini study, 47% of “crypto-interested” people are women. In addition, women are the most involved in France, as almost half (45%) of crypto investors are women, according to this study.

In fact, the main reason for their so-called “prudent” savings behavior is their lower incomes. (We’ll come back to this later.) Their lower capacity would encourage them to exercise moderation by making precautionary savings a priority. Consequence: This is a more affordable but less efficient way to save.

In the earthly world, it is customary to caricature roles: “Women choose the right thing, men invest. » The reality is far from this. Purchasing a primary residence for a couple is often a two-way, joint financing and long-term project. Also, according to another OpinionWay study for Vousfinancer in 2017, 56% of young couples aged 25-34 prefer buying a couple over marriage.

Earn less, invest less, earn less

Nevertheless, the rental property sector shows gender inequality. According to research by rental management site Flatlooker published in March 2022, women are almost excluded from this type of investment. And the few women who do… earn less! Their rental income is 16% lower than that of men.

The evil is undoubtedly deeper. If we look at the theory of behavioral finance, we will understand that certain cognitive biases contribute to the widening of the gap between men and women. The latter reproduce the same investment strategy as for financial products, showing greater insensitivity to risk. As a rule, they position themselves on objects located in less dynamic areas.

Uneven transmission

First of all, it is necessary to urgently assess the appropriation of capital by men. A fairer distribution of financial capital, as well as real estate, has become relevant more than ever. Essay by Celine Bessier and Sybil Hollak titled “Type of capital” (La Découverte, 2020) addressed gender in heritage and the reproduction of inequality.

Sociologists shed light on family practices that systematically favor women during inheritance. Salic law is unconsciously applied to the distribution of capital, favoring male primogeniture. It is time to deconstruct this outdated system and finally ensure real equity in the distribution and development of capital regardless of gender.

The answer to the original question is no, investment does not have to be gender specific, but the behavior is the result of structural gender inequality.