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Australian home ownership rate is falling

Escalating property prices around the country could be pushing Australians out of the property market, with a recent report indicating that fewer than 50 per cent of Australian adults are likely to own a property in the next few years.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report, released by the Melbourne Institute that the proportion of owner-occupied houses fell by 3.5 per cent between 2001 and 2014.

According to the report’s author, Professor Roger Wilkins, the fall in home ownership is due to high house prices, as opposed to less interest in owning a home.

Mr Wilkins said that it is likely that in the next few years fewer than half of adults will be homeowners and it appears to be mostly young homebuyers that seem to be struggling to get into the market.

The report found that home ownership among those aged 25-34 years fell from 38.7 per cent in 2002 to 29.2 per cent in 2014. Much of this decline was seen from 2010 to 2014.

A decline in home ownership was also seen in older age groups, although it wasn’t as pronounced as the 25-24 age group.

Home ownership fell from 63.2 per cent to 52.4 per cent for those aged 35-44, and it also fell from 75.6 per cent to 67.4 per cent for those aged 45–54.

Those aged 55–64 only saw only a slight decline in home ownership, from 75.1 per cent in 2002 to 72.9 per cent in 2014.

Those aged 65 and over saw virtually no change in home ownership over the period studied.

Young Australians shouldn’t let these new findings deter them from entering the property market.

While it’s true that escalating property prices are making it harder for a lot of people to buy where they might like to, there are still property pathways available for those willing to think outside the square or make some compromises.

These might include buying smaller property types, moving to regional areas where property is more affordable, or buying an investment property to build equity before buying an owner occupied home.