Australia's home ownership rate remains stable despite higher costs

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on May 25, 2022 Fact Checked
Australia's home ownership rate remains stable despite higher costs

Despite rising costs, Australia's home ownership rate has remained steady at 66% according to new data.

The ABS's Survey of Income and Housing (SIH), which measures levels of housing occupancy and costs every second financial year, revealed home ownership figures in 2019-20 remained consistent with figures recorded in 2017-18 at 66%.

Rental figures also remained relatively stable, with the survey noting 31% of Australian households rented their home in 2019–20, compared to 32% in 2017–18. 

The survey revealed housing costs, adjusted for inflation, have increased over the past 20 years for major tenure and landlord types by:

  • 50% for homeowners without a mortgage.
  • 40% for homeowners with a mortgage.
  • 27% for state or territory housing tenants.
  • 50% for private renters. 

Despite rising costs, young first home buyers were not deterred from entering the housing market, with a six percentage point increase in under-35 first home buyers from 2017-18.

The proportion of first home buyers under the age of 35 grew from 55% to 61% in 2019-20, yet of the 420,000 first home buyers surveyed, only 17% of dwellings recently purchased were brand new.

This raises questions as more than three-quarters of first home buyers are potentially forgoing government grants with a preference to buy an established home.

Throughout 2021, almost one in 10 first home buyers - or 33,000 - were backed by either the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) and the New Home Guarantee (NHG)

With a newly formed Federal Labor Government, another scheme is imminent being the Help to Buy shared equity scheme.

CoreLogic’s Research Director Tim Lawless said the Help to Buy scheme is likely to be popular with prospective home buyers, providing a more affordable entry point to the market.

“Being able to share up to 40% of the purchase price with the government, along with only a small deposit and opportunity to save on lenders mortgage insurance, helps to overcome several of the hurdles of home ownership,” Mr Lawless said.

“Having said that, a higher interest rate environment, which may see lower prices, could make people more cautious of buying, reducing demand for the scheme in the short term.”

It’s important to note data collected for the SIH survey does not consider the pandemic, record low interest rates, housing boom, rising rents and surging inflation as figures were recorded up until June 2020.


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The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Jacob Cocciolone joined the Savings team in 2021 as a Finance Journalist. Driven by a passion for keeping Australians up to date with the latest financial news and trends, his areas of interest include financial technology, investing, property and motoring.

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