Study: Gender, Racial Diversity Lacking in Real Estate Investing

August 28, 2020

Real estate investing may be lacking diversity, according to a new study conducted by investor news site Millionacres of 655 investor respondents on Aug. 7. More than one in four women say that gender diversity is lacking or severely lacking in the real estate investing community. Nearly one in four nonwhite respondents also said that racial diversity was lacking or severely lacking in investing.

What’s more, over a third of women surveyed said they felt their gender affected the opportunities they received; 23% said it affected their returns. When it comes to race, one-third of nonwhite respondents felt their race affected their opportunities and just over one-quarter felt it affected their returns.

A separate study conducted by researchers Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham and Kelly Shue found that women earn on average 1.5 percentage points less than men per year on housing returns.

Real estate investors appear conflicted, however, the survey concludes. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they were happy with the level of diversity in the real estate investing community.

“Initial results … indicate that real estate investing is overwhelmingly white and male,” the study notes. “Women do seem to think that diversity in the field could use some work. But they were almost as likely to say that real estate is gender diverse as they were to say that it was lacking in diversity. And they were twice as likely as men to say that the community doesn’t need to take action to improve diversity.”

Similar findings were found among racial and ethnic minorities. “They think that real estate investing isn’t a very diverse community, but there split on what should be done about it—if anything,” the study notes.

However, many respondents were in favor of early financial education, such as information on real estate investing, for underrepresented groups, the survey found.