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Australia: Home owners almost the minority

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey has found that home ownership in Australia is in steep decline.


Commenced in 2001, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households, conducted annually. The study is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS; previously Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.

Essentially, the survey lets us know what’s happening in Australian society – and what is happening at the moment is a steep decline in the percentage of Australians that are succeeding in the “Great Australian Dream” of home ownership.

Perhaps even worse (although not surprisingly) despite the fall in home ownership, mean home debt among all households rose in a sustained fashion. In 2014, mean home debt was, in real terms, nearly double its 2002 level.

Housing Affordability in Australia

Fewer people own their own homes

Whilst home ownership figures are commonly quoted at around 70%, this figure takes account of all people living in an owner-occupied home. This might include adult children and extended relatives. Instead, the HILDA survey reports on the percentage of Australian adults that are legal owners of a home. The figure is soberingly less.

Year % of adult home ownership in Australia
2002 57%
2006 55.80%
2010 54.40%
2014 51.70%

Source: The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings from Waves 1 to 14

State by state the changes varied, as follows:

HILDA survey by state

Source: The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: Selected Findings from Waves 1 to 14

Other findings of the report were as follows:

  • The wealthiest households in Australia are couples over 65, who have experienced a real increase in median net wealth of almost 70% since 2002, according to Australia’s largest and most comprehensive household survey.
  • The average annual disposable income per household (at December 2014 prices) has risen from $58,000 in 2001 to $76,000 in 2014, an increase of just over 25 per cent.
  • Small businesses are employing fewer people. The data showed that small businesses are more likely to employ men, older people, and trade workers. These jobs tend to be lower wage, part time and casual.

 

 

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