Young Australians Suffer Home Loan Hangover: HILDA Report


Mortgage debt on primary residences among young Australians almost doubled between 2002 and 2014, according to the latest release of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey.

HILDA, the longest running survey of Australia’s population, found average mortgage debt among 18-39 year olds jumped in real terms from $169,201 to $336,586 over those 12 years.

The report’s author, Professor Roger Wilkins from the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Institute, Applied Economic and Social Research said that, on average, young home owners are also not paying down their debt, which increased every year.

“The situation doesn’t improve for young Australians wanting to enter the property market. Home ownership among 18-39 year olds has declined rapidly - down 11 percentage points from 2002 to 2014,” Professor Wilkins said.

The survey also found that young Australian adults are living with their parents longer.

“In 2015, 60 per cent of men and 48 per cent of women aged 22-25 were living in their family home, up from 43 per cent and 27 per cent in 2001," he said.

Since 2001, the HILDA Survey has followed the same people from right across Australia to assess how their lives are changing. The survey currently tracks more than 17,000 people in 9,500 households, and will continue to grow as families expand.

This year’s study focused on family relationships, household finances, employment, retirement, Australian attitudes and gambling.

“For the first time we have included questions about gambling in the survey to help explore the impact it has on family lives," Professor Wilkins said.

“The report found almost 40 per cent of adults gamble at least once a month – mostly on lottery games.

"About two per cent of those identify as ‘problem gamblers’, which is a significant number when you consider the harm potentially caused to their loved ones.”

The report also shows Australian attitudes are changing towards a variety of social issues such as marriage and parenting.

“Between 2005 and 2015 there was a profound shift towards the view that homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples,” Professor Wilkins said.

“We’ve also changed our attitudes towards working mothers. People increasingly agree that a working mother can have as good a relationship with her children as a woman who is not working.”


Copyright: rafaelbenari / 123RF Stock Photo

The survey also found:

  • High poverty rates among children in single parent families: between 20-25 per cent of children in these families lack basic essentials.
  • Parents are spending more on childcare: the average cost of childcare increased by 74 per cent (in real terms) between 2002 and 2015.
  • Incomes have flatlined, with Sydney experiencing the lowest rate of growth in median incomes, while Perth experienced the highest between 2001 and 2015.
  • Australians are retiring later than they had planned; the number of men who are retiring by the ages of 60-64 has dropped by about 40% since 2001, while for women it’s 30%.

Main image copyright: lopolo / 123RF Stock Photo

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