Is the Great Australian Dream Achievable?

The results of a new survey reveal that almost 90% of Australians now view the traditional dream of home ownership as out of reach.

The latest Mortgage Choice survey, conducted with the help of Core Data, surveyed over 1,000 Australians regarding their views on home ownership, along with whether it remains the ‘Great Australian Dream’.

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents were less than optimistic in their replies, with 87% of those surveyed saying that the ‘traditional dream’ of home ownership was becoming increasingly harder to achieve.

With housing affordability becoming more and more of an issue in recent years, many Australians believe they won’t be able to afford the romanticised free-standing home in the suburbs that has been the home ownership ideal for so long.

Mortgage Choice Chief Executive Officer John Flavell is of the opinion that this has led to a shift in what Australians think of as the ‘Great Australian Dream’, with it changing to include apartments and other less traditional property types.

“Australians no longer considering owning a free-standing home as the ‘Great Australian Dream’,” he says.

“Instead, they believe the ‘dream’ has evolved to include any style or type of property.”


Are apartments the answer to this problem?

With the number of apartments being built in Australia reaching an all-time high and apartment affordability predicted to improve as a result of over-supply, Mr Flavell views apartment living as a strong property choice going forward.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic surge in the number of people embracing apartment living.

“And, when you look at the level of apartment construction taking place across the country, it is likely that we will continue to see more Australians calling apartments ‘home’.”

However, Mr Flavell notes that while some may view an apartment as their first choice of property, for some an apartment would be a consolation prize compared to a home. He adds that some “are only choosing this property purchasing path because they believe they cannot afford the traditional dream of a free-standing home”.

“We need to help Australians who are struggling to get their foot on the property ladder, find a way to achieve their dream of home ownership.”

How can housing affordability be addressed?

Mr Flavell is adamant that it’s time the problem of housing affordability is tackled, saying that “structural changes across the country are needed”.

“To date, we have heard a myriad of suggestions from both sides of parliament in relation to what should be done to address the issue of housing affordability,” he said.

“Many of the suggestions have centred around tax concessions, extended first home owner grants, and allowing first home buyers to use their super as a home deposit.

“To my mind, such initiatives may well provide some relief and temporarily treat some of the symptoms associated with housing affordability, but they do very little (if anything) to treat the root cause.

“We need to see further opportunities for employment in regional areas. In addition, we need better infrastructure to enable a faster connection between our suburban/regional areas and our urban centres. Finally, we need to see continued development within the urban areas.

“Only when all of these initiatives are in place can we truly start to treat the root cause of the housing affordability crisis.”

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