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Homeownership dream a ‘thing of the past’

Australians increasingly favour “freedom” and “flexibility” over the traditional dream of homeownership, according to new research.

According to Real Insurance’s The Real Home Reality survey, close to two-thirds (63.2 per cent) of Australians believe the dream of owning a home “is a thing of the past”.

The research found that the new “Australian dream” is to attain “freedom” and “flexibility” in life (65.8 per cent).

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The research also revealed that respondents would consider purchasing either an apartment or unit (56.1 per cent) or a small house (55.1 per cent) rather than the traditional ideal of a “quarter-acre block” to help achieve such goals.  

The research found that while attitudes regarding homeownership have changed, 74.9 per cent of homeowners and 71.7 per cent of prospective home buyers  said buying a home was their number one dream in life.

In saving up to purchase a home, some prospects took on more work (35.1 per cent) and made the most of government grants (34.7 per cent), as well as cut down spending on travelling (71.1 per cent), going without the latest tech gadgets (71.1 per cent) and limiting buying clothing and accessories (69.7 per cent).

The survey also found that those living in Victoria and NSW are the most likely to not be committed to saving for a home deposit, instead spending their money on eating out and socialising (58.1 per cent and 49.4 per cent, respectively), with Western Australians the least likely to forgo saving (26.3 per cent).

Commenting on the research, Real Insurance spokesperson Tania Bradley said: “While most respondents still say that home ownership is important to them, many cite staying healthy, enjoying life and feeling financially secure as some of their greatest dreams in life.

“In fact, many Australians are choosing freedom and flexibility in life over the commitment of saving for a home. It’s not surprising given that housing affordability is a thing of the past, coupled with travelling and seeing the world being an important goal for many.”

Further, the research found that the vast majority of respondents think the financial choices of younger Australians make it harder for them to get into the property market (80.6 per cent) and achieve the dream of homeownership (80.8 per cent), while half believe that older Australians have made it harder for younger Australians to get on the property ladder (50.9 per cent) and ultimately achieve the Australian dream (49.2 per cent).

Moreover, the survey found that respondents from generation Y are the most likely to say it was difficult to purchase their own home, while baby boomers are the least likely to have found the process difficult (72.8 per cent and 47.5 per cent, respectively).

Moreover, the survey reported that more than a third of prospective home buyers said they were sacrificing or delaying having kids (36.4 per cent) in order to save up for a home.

Additionally, many respondents blamed overseas investors for the required deposit for a home (86.6 per cent) and stamp duty (81.0 per cent) for the difficulty younger Australians are facing when trying to enter the property market.

Rich Harvey, buyer’s agent and CEO of Propertybuyer.com.au, observed: “The dream of homeownership as we know it understandably has to change.

“Australians should consider ‘rent-vesting’, renting where they want to live and investing in property elsewhere, if they want to have the bricks-and-mortar security that comes with having assets in property.

He added: “However, that some are choosing to invest in experiences over a home deposit is certainly a sign of the times.

“Australians are rating ‘travelling’, ‘having the experiences they want in life’ and ‘happiness’ as among their greatest dream in life, which means that the goal of homeownership is often postponed.

Mr Harvey concluded: “The fact that around 70 per cent want to own their own home accords with census data figures, which shows that around 30 per cent of the population rent and the other 70 per cent are paying off a mortgage or own property outright.

“While we want our cake and eat it too, we all have to make compromises on spending on experiences versus saving for a home.”

[Related: New housing finance body appoints inaugural CEO]

 

Homeownership dream a ‘thing of the past’
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