The ageing of the population is a global demographic transition that is creating seismic shifts in the age structure of populations worldwide, and Australia is no exception. This Positioning Paper is the first output of a project that aims to uncover the uses, financial costs and risks of housing equity withdrawal (HEW) via alternative mechanisms by older Australians. By HEW, we are specifically referring to any mechanism that homeowners use in order to convert some or all of the illiquid equity held in their primary homes into income, regardless of whether that equity is being taken out as a lump sum or in regular payments. The findings of the project will provide a comprehensive evidence base for policies and programs aimed at maximising the availability and quality of information to support Australians in their decision-making over the management of housing wealth in later life. This Positioning Paper presents background material that will inform the project’s research aim.
Authors: Rachel Ong, Curtin University; Marietta Haffner, Delft University of Technology, RMIT University, Cambridge University; Gavin Wood, RMIT University; Therese Jefferson, Curtin University; and Siobhan Austen, Curtin University.