Australian Dream is “a thing of the past”

by Rebecca Pike14 Dec 2018

According to recent research almost two-thirds of Australians believe the ‘Australian Dream’ of owning a home is a thing of the past.

The Real Home Reality survey, from Real Insurance, is the 14th instalment in a series of national studies investigating shifting values and concerns impacting Australian families.

According to the research, more than nine in ten of respondents said the new dream is achieving happiness. More than 65% of those said freedom and flexibility in life was the most important.

While 63.3% said owning the “quarter-acre block in the suburbs” was a thing of the past, nearly 70% said it was still important to them personally.

Fifty-six percent said they would consider buying an apartment instead and 55% said they would consider buying a tiny house.

Three in four homeowners said buying their home was their number one dream in life before they made their purchase, which 71% of prospective homeowners said it was their number one dream now.

In saving up to buy a home, 35% said they took on more work and nearly the same number said they made the most of government grants.

Double those figures said they cut down spending on travelling, went without the latest tech gadgets and limited buying clothes and accessories.

Those living in Victoria and New South Wales were the most likely to not be committed to saving for a home deposit, instead spending their money on eating out and socialising. Western Australia was the least likely state to do this.

Real Insurance spokesperson, Tania Bradley, said the research presents fresh insights into the ‘Australian Dream’, which is constantly shifting as home ownership becomes less attainable.

She 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.”

More than 80% of respondents said they thought the financial choices of younger Australians made it harder for them to get onto the property market. Only 50% said the financial choices of older Australians made it harder for younger Australians to get on the property market.

The research also revealed the personal impact of being unable to purchase a home. More than a third of prospects said they were sacrificing or delaying having kids in order to save up for a home.

More than 86% blamed overseas investors or the required deposit for a home for the difficulty younger Australians face when trying to buy a home and 81% blamed stamp duty.

Rich Harvey, buyer’s agent and CEO of Propertybuyer.com.au, said, “The dream of home ownership 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.

“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 home ownership is often postponed.

“The fact that around 70% want to own their own home accords with census data figures which shows that around 30% of the population rent and the other 70% 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 vs saving for a home.”