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Generational change in home purchase opportunity in Australia

5 Nov 2014

Executive summary
There has been considerable media exposure in recent years to the contracting opportunities for younger people to become home owners, just as there was at the turn of the millennium. Rising dwelling prices were a problem then as they are now. The language of crisis often flavours such writing, with commentary linking the problematic housing future of the young with the more favourable environment faced by their parents, the baby boomers. This short report is designed to provide current evidence around the topic, with the particular research objectives of identifying:

1. The degree to which younger households, particularly the cohorts aged 25–44 years, have experienced a contraction in home purchase over the last 30 years.
2. The adaptive responses this generation has made to circumvent obstacles to ownership, particularly that of declining housing affordability.
3. Which younger households have been most disadvantaged in terms of home purchase opportunity—and whether factors such as income and household type, have been influential in this regard.

This paper is a quantitative study and relies for its findings on 30 years of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, most notably from the census.

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