Declining Home Ownership Leads to Intergenerational Inequality: HILDA


Renters are a growing demographic in Australia, as new research reveals the proportion of Australians living in rental accomodation is on the rise.

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey shows the overall proportion of people in rental accommodation increased from 28 per cent in 2001 to 31.3 per cent in 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly due to the growing trend, the survey said people aged 15-24 are choosing to live with their parents longer.

Melbourne Institute deputy director and report co-author Roger Wilkins said the new survey highlights the plight of renters.

“Renters, especially younger ones, are finding it more difficult to own a home,” Wilkins said.

“Indeed, renting has declined somewhat since 2011 for the 25 to 34 age group. This is not because they are more likely to be home owners, however. Rather, as with the trend for the 15 to 24 age group, it reflects the trend towards remaining in the parental home, which is often owner-occupied, until older ages,” the report said.

Related: Mirvac Launches Build-to-Rent ‘Club’

People aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to rent, while people aged 55 and over are the least likely to rent: HILDA
People aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to rent, while people aged 55 and over are the least likely to rent: HILDA

Wilkins said that over the survey period, which began in 2001 and tracks more than 17,500 people in 9500 households, the number of renters aged between 18 to 24 transitioning into home ownership dropped from 13.5 per cent to 7.6 per cent.

The survey showed that the decline in home ownership has a very strong link to growing evidence of intergenerational inequality.

"There’s been a growth in inequality across the generations and it’s very much tied to home ownership," Wilkins said.

However, the number of people living in social housing dropped to 3.3 per cent, down from 5 per cent in 2001.

“Private renters are also considerably more at risk of financial stress, especially compared with outright home-owners, who, unsurprisingly, are the least at risk,” Wilkins said.

The HILDA survey indicates there has been little net change in income inequality between 2001 and 2016.

From 2009 to 2016 the mean household income increased by around $2000, or 2.4 per cent for the seven year period.

Despite reports of rising electricity and gas prices, average household expenditure has been declining since 2014, according to the research.

The share of income spent on child care is rising, with this most acutely felt among low-income households.

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