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Confidence in home ownership grows, despite affordability concerns

Aspiring home owners in Australia believe the “Great Australian Dream” is more achievable out west than any other state, amid rising house prices, a survey reveals.

A Bankwest survey, of more than 1,800 Australians in December 2021, has revealed 60 per cent of Western Australians looking to purchase a home felt the “goal was achievable” (compared to 37 per cent the previous year).

The increase in those in Western Australia who felt home ownership was achievable was complemented by an increase in the number of people who believed the “goal was important”, up from 55 to 67 per cent.

The next most confident cohort was South Australia at 54 per cent, compared to 44 per cent in December 2020, closely followed by Queensland that jumped from 36 per cent in 2020 to 52 per cent confidence in 2021.

Despite booming house prices and lockdowns in Victoria, buying confidence went up to 53 per cent in December 2021 (from 41 per cent the previous year).

This was a stark contrast to NSW, on the back of lockdowns, with aspiring home owner’s confidence dropping 3 per cent (to 57 per cent) while more people felt home ownership was important (increasing 11 per cent).

As people have dealt with “incredible uncertainty” in the past two years, Bankwest’s general manager home buying Peter Bouhlas said an increase in the importance of home ownership was “not surprising”.

“I think we’re all aware of the state of the WA property market at the moment – and that extends to the shortages being felt in the rental space – which is the result of increased demand and supply pressures,” Mr Bouhlas said.

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Women and Millennials most confident

While housing affordability underpins buyers’ confidence, women and Millennials in Western Australia, had the most confidence and felt it was increasingly important to own their own home – the largest increase in any cohort.

The results showed 57 per cent of women and 65 per cent of Millennials in Western Australia felt home ownership was achievable, compared to just 30 per cent the previous year.

The increased confidence in home ownership was mirrored by an increase in the number of people who felt home ownership was important, up 17 per cent to 70 per cent.

Mr Bouhlas said the increased confidence in home ownership for Millennials and women was reflected by a strong economy and low unemployment rate.

“WA also has the strongest economy and lowest unemployment rate in the country, likely fuelling confidence, especially among women and millennials, and helped by WA’s relative affordability to the eastern states,” Mr Bouhlas said.

“Those of us who live in Western Australia know we’re the heart of the lucky country, but this data suggests our homebuying confidence is reflecting that, too, with more people feeling they can afford it, than those who want it.

[Related: Labor Party 'deeply concerned' with housing affordability]

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