Is it possible that the Spice Girls, with their constant shrieks of ‘Girl Power!’ and message of independence, could have had a stronger influence than anyone gave them credit for?

New data shows that Generation Y women are storming ahead of their male counterparts in the property market.

Mortgage settlement figures from ING Direct show that a higher proportion of home loans than ever before belongs to young women, and they hold a larger share of the market than men the same age.

In fact, it’s been this way for a while. In 2009, females overtook males with a 14% and 12% share respectively of the home loan market. Since then, there has been a 2 percentage point gap between Gen Y women and men, except for last year when it widened to 3 percentage points. You go, girls!

In Queensland, 18% of financial settlements belonged to Gen Y women whereas Gen Y men took just 16%.

In other age groups, Gen X saw no difference between genders with both holding 25% of the market, and among Baby Boomers men were clinging on to the lead by one percentage point (9% vs. 8%).

In some areas, such as Brisbane, Gen X buyers are still dominating the market (they accounted for 50% of sales in Brisbane last year). But overall on a national level, Gen Y is taking a larger share of the mortgage market, having increased from 26% in 2009 to 43% last year. This is according to John Arnott, ING Direct’s Executive Director for Customers.

“While the ING DIRECT Autumn Buyers’ Guide shows dwelling values have risen around Australia, it appears this increase hasn’t deterred younger buyers from entering the property market … The number of Gen Y customers with mortgage settlements has grown by 76 per cent since 2009,” he said.

“This growth is in stark contrast to Gen X, where the number of customers with mortgage settlements has decreased by 12 per cent.”

The bank reports that housing was worth $6.5 trillion to the Australian economy last year, which is “almost three times the value of Australia’s combined superannuation funds”.

Although these numbers might sound promising for young buyers, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show first home buyers are still struggling when it comes to home financing, holding just 14.2% of all owner-occupied loans in March this year. The last time the number was that low was over 10 years ago, in May 2004.

Cameron Kusher, a data analyst at CoreLogic RP, warned that those still trying to get a foothold in the market would “struggle to compete with investors and upgraders who have been active in the market and where significant equity has been acquired”.

He said the “simple answer” was for struggling first home buyers to look further afield for property, outside major cities. Sensibly, he also acknowledged “that may seem a little simplistic” since the main employment opportunities are to be found in city centres.

So with the simple answer written off as too simplistic, we’d better go in search of a less-simple simple answer. Hope that’s cleared things up for you.