Nearly 90% of Australians see the Great Australian Dream as no longer achievable, according to new data from Mortgage Choice.
Earlier this year, Mortgage Choice, together with Core Data, asked more than 1,000 Australians for their thoughts and opinions on home ownership and whether or not it remains the ‘Great Australian Dream’.
According to the report, otherwise known as the Evolving Great Australian Dream, 87% of surveyed respondents said it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the ‘traditional dream’ of home ownership.
“The Great Australian Dream has traditionally been seen as owning a free-standing house on a quarter-acre block in the suburbs,” Mortgage Choice chief executive officer John Flavell said.
“While the research clearly shows that the concept of owning a property continues to be ‘the dream’ for many Australians, it would seem the traditional ‘dream’ is evolving.
“Australians no longer consider owning a free-standing home as the ‘Great Australian Dream’. Instead, they believe the ‘dream’ has evolved to include any style or type of property.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic surge in the number of people embracing apartment living. And, when you look at the level of apartment construction taking place across the country, it is likely that we will continue to see more Australians calling apartments ‘home’.”
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found approximately 52,000 apartments were approved for construction in 2011. Last year, that number had jumped to in excess of 100,000.
“While a lot of Australians are happy to buy and live in an apartment, others are only choosing this property purchasing path because they believe they cannot afford the traditional dream of a free-standing home,” Mr Flavell said.
As per the research, the vast majority of Australians fear they may never be able to buy the type of property they desire.
“We need to help Australians who are struggling to get their foot on the property ladder, find a way to achieve their dream of home ownership.”
Mr Flavell said it was time for the federal and state governments to work together to give serious thought to the issue of housing affordability and collectively seek to address the problem.
“To date, we have heard a myriad of suggestions from both sides of parliament in relation to what should be done to address the issue of housing affordability,” he said.
“Many of the suggestions have centred around tax concessions; extended first home owner grants; and allowing first home buyers to use their super as a home deposit.
“To my mind, such initiatives may well provide some relief and temporarily treat some of the symptoms associated with housing affordability, but they do very little (if anything) to treat the root cause.
“Property price growth is fundamentally driven by supply and demand. When you get an ever increasing proportion of the population seeking to live in the urban centres for direct access to employment opportunities, education and other amenities, it is only fair to assume that we will see these centres come under greater supply pressure.
“Structural changes across the country are needed. We need to see further opportunities for employment in regional areas. In addition, we need better infrastructure to enable a faster connection between our suburban/regional areas and our urban centres. Finally, we need to see continued development within the urban areas.
“Only when all of these initiatives are in place can we truly start to treat the root cause of the housing affordability crisis.
“Home ownership should be achievable for all Australians, and as a nation, we should do what it takes to make that a reality.”