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Home Ownership Way Down, Debt Way Up For Young People In Australia

Debt has doubled since 2002, and young people are living with parents longer than before.

01/08/2017 11:58 PM AEST | Updated 01/08/2017 11:58 PM AEST

Yet another report has detailed the brutal home-buying market Australia's youth face today, with home ownership way down and home debt doubling since 2002 as young people are forced to live at home with their parents for longer than before.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report from the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Institute was released on Wednesday, cataloguing economic trends for ordinary citizens across the country. In its 17th year, the HILDA report -- an ongoing annual survey of more than 17,000 people nationwide -- had some more grave findings for aspiring young homeowners, setting out the difficulties faced in today's housing market.

Home ownership has "declined rapidly" among 18-39 year olds since 2001. For those who have been able to buy a home, mortgage debt among 18-39 year olds doubled between 2002 and 2014, jumping from $169,201 to $336,586. Almost 90 percent of homeowners in this age bracket had home debt, a figure which has "risen dramatically". In 2014, only 25 percent of 18-39 year olds owned a home, down from 36 percent in 2002. These factors have fed into young people staying at home longer -- in 2015, 60 percent of men and 48 percent of women aged between 22 and 25 were still living with their parents, compared to 43 percent and 27 percent respectively in 2001.

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This is supported by data from the 2016 census, which found more young people were being forced to stay living with family for longer than before. Nearly 114,000 people in Sydney aged 25 to 34 are still living in the family home, in a housing environment of spiralling prices and a decade-long wait to scrape together enough money for a deposit.

"Home ownership has been declining in Australia for some years now. This decline has been particularly concentrated among young adults," the HILDA report's authors wrote.

"The mean debt carried by [young] home owners has risen dramatically."

In other housing stats, the HILDA report found home ownership had declined sharpest among couples with dependent children, dropping from 55.5 percent in 2002 to 38.6 percent in 2014. Couples with no dependents also saw a sharp decline in ownership rates, from 46.7 percent in 2002 to 35.1 percent in 2014.

Elsewhere in the report, interesting findings included:

  • 40 percent of adults gamble at least once a month, mostly on lottery games, including two percent who identified as "problem gamblers";
  • Gambling is most likely among men, older people, smokers, regular drinkers, people who are employed and those on higher incomes;
  • 'Couple with dependent children' was the most popular family classification, with 44.5 percent of the nation;
  • 54 percent of separated parents received no child support at all from the other parent of their children;
  • mean and median disposable incomes dropped slightly between 2014 and 2015, the mean income from $89,940 to $89,341, and the median from $76,838 to $76,225;
  • since 2001, Sydney has had the smallest median income growth rate, while Perth has had the highest;
  • Poverty among the elderly remains "consistently high" but has been on the decline since 2009;
  • In 2015, 32 percent of people aged 18 to 64 lived in a household which received some income support, down from 38 percent in 2001

To see the full report and its findings, see the Melbourne Institute's website.

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