The Real Home Reality

The Real Home Reality A deeper look at how generational Aussies are changing their outlook on home ownership and life goals.

6 Dec 2018

Many of us Aussies are changing how we think about the traditional Australian Dream of owning a home on a quarter acre block in the suburbs, replacing it with perhaps a far more realistic and meaningful dream: happiness. Close to two-thirds of us (63.2%) believe the traditional Aussie Dream is a thing of the past, and instead the new dream for almost all of us (91.5%) is achieving happiness. Despite this, the Australian Dream of owning a home as we know it, is still a goal for many but it isn’t the acre block and house – we are considering apartments and tiny houses instead with seven out of 10 (69.9%) of us saying it’s important personally to achieve home ownership one day.

The Real Home Reality Survey is the fourteenth instalment in a series of national studies investigating the shifting values and concerns affecting Australian families. This chapter explores how the traditional Australian Dream is changing, what this means for those of us who are desperate to get on the property ladder, and what Aussies are now placing value on instead.

Living the dream

When it comes to getting on the property ladder, three-quarters (74.9%) of us say buying a home was the number one dream in life even before they purchased it, while a similar number (71.7%) of us still trying to get into the property market say purchasing a home remains our number one dream.

When it comes to the different states across Australia, over three-quarters (76.6%) of us in South Australia who are still trying to get into the property market say that owning our own home is our number one dream in life, with 71.1% of Queenslanders agreeing.

Close to three in five (57.1%) homeowners say it was difficult to purchase their own home. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gen Ys are the most likely to say this (72.8%), while Baby Boomers are the least likely (47.5%).

When deciding what kind of property we’d ideally like to have, almost all prospects would consider purchasing a free-standing house (95.8%) while two-thirds of us would possibly opt for a villa or townhouse (66.4%). Similar numbers of prospective homeowners would consider either an apartment or unit (56.1%) or a ‘tiny house’ (55.1%).

Resilience shines through

Our research shows that us Aussies are a resilient bunch who love a bodacious dream to aim for in life. So, we’re adapting our dream to meet a more realistic reality in the face of high property prices.

The large majority of the prospective homeowners would consider purchasing a property that’s smaller than our ideal size (80.1%), further away from our ideal area (79.8%), and even a different type of property to our ideal property (78.3%). More than half (52.3%) would also consider purchasing a property in a different state or territory.

Staying close to our roots is important for nearly half (47.7%) of prospective Aussie homeowners, however, only a third (33.5%) expect to purchase in an area similar to the one that we were brought up in, while (29.8)% of us are unsure.

We’re also willing to make big changes to our lives just to get on the property ladder. While saving up to purchase their own homes, a third (33.2%) of prospects took on more work and nearly a quarter (24.8%) made the most of Government grants, while over half (54.0%) cut down spending on travelling.

We’d also much prefer the security of home ownership before committing to becoming parents. So much so that we’re even putting off starting a family, with over a third (36.4%) of us admitting that we’re delaying starting a family in order to save for a home.

When it comes to those of us who are not currently committed to saving for a home deposit, over half of non-prospects (55.4%) are spending their money on ‘travel and experiences’, while nearly a quarter (23.5%) are putting the money towards ‘home comforts’.

When we look at both prospects and non-prospects across the country, the Victorians amongst us are the most likely (58.1%) to not currently be committed to saving for a home deposit and spending money on eating out and socialising instead, whereas those living in Western Australia are the least likely (26.3%) to be doing this!

Looking to the future

More than three in five (61.2%) of us are currently committed to purchasing their own home in order to feel secure in their living situation, and almost half of us are doing it because we want to stop paying rent (49.3%).

The majority of us also say we are consciously choosing freedom and flexibility in life (65.8%) over the commitment of saving for a home, which means that fewer Australians expect to own our own home in the next five to 10 years.

So, it seems that putting happiness including travel and freedom above anything else in life is the new Australian Dream. There’s nothing more important in life, after all, and reiterates how adaptable and resilient us Aussies are when faced with a challenge.

To find out more about modern Australians’ opinions on the issues most affecting us, stay tuned for our next chapter of research, coming soon.

Download full research report