13 March 2019

Is the Australian dream dying?

Recent independent research released by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) suggests the Australia dream of owning a home is dying.

Despite 81 per cent of respondents agreeing everyday Australians should be able to own their own home, the research provides a disturbing insight into Australia’s sentiment towards home ownership and housing affordability.

“Over 92 per cent of tenants aspire to own their own home,” says HIA Chief Economist, Tim Reardon. “But less than half of them think they will achieve this dream.

Not enough government support

Reardon says the research shows respondents believe the Government must do more to help Australians become home owners.

“Australians see that the Government has a role to play in assisting first home buyers address the biggest barrier to home ownership, which is the initial deposit,” he says. “This is because they see that home ownership is important to achieving financial stability.”

65 per cent of respondents believe young people or first home buyers should be given more flexibility to aid market entry. This is a critical issue given 73 per cent of respondents also believe they will be unable to afford to buy a home in an area they want to live and 71 per cent are concerned that not owning a home will lead to financial challenges in retirement.

“It is a sad indictment on the NSW Government if hard-working NSW families can’t afford to live the Australian dream,” says REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin.

“Renting is a great option for many NSW families, if that is their choice. However, if the reason they’re renting is because they cannot afford to buy a home due to government-imposed taxes and charges, something must be done.

“Tax should be a consequence of a transaction, not a consideration. if it becomes a consideration, as is the case with stamp duty, it is a very bad tax.”

Sarah Bester, General Manager of Ray White Double Bay, says housing affordability has always been affected by excessive stamp duty margins, especially for first time home buyers. 

"But with the additional tightening of lending criteria from the outcome of the Royal Commission, entry to home ownership is even more onerous."

Stability is the key

“The importance of home ownership for financial security makes housing affordability a top three issue to Australians at the next election after the cost of living and ‘health and ageing’ and ahead of immigration and the environment,” says Reardon.

“Of concern is the fact that 75 per cent of Australians feel that it is more difficult to purchase a home now than 10 years ago.

“With a federal election imminent, it is important to recognise that 71 per cent of people believe Governments have an important role in helping Australians achieve their dream.

Reardon says the importance of home ownership to Australians couldn’t be clearer.

“Now more than ever, home ownership matters,” he says.

McKibbin agrees, saying the NSW Government has unfairly and unconscionably profited from draconian property taxation off the back of NSW home buyers for too long. 

“If Government wants to seriously look at the issue of affordability, eradicating the 40 per cent plus costs imposed by Government on all new dwellings is an excellent place to start,” says McKibbin.

“The NSW Government should ask itself if it wants to lead housing affordability and growth or continue to actively hinder its constituents’ ability to achieve the Australian dream of owning a home.”

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