Homeownership at lowest level on record in Victoria: ABS

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Young Victorians are turning their backs on wanting a house like 36 Alwyn St, Croydon in favour of a social life as homeownership in the state falls.

Victoria has reached its lowest level of homeownership on record, and the social lives of the state’s young adults are partly to blame.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2017-2018 Survey of Income and Housing released today has revealed just 68.3 per cent of the state’s residents own their own home.

It’s the lowest figure since the survey began more than 20 years ago in 1994, when more than three quarters of households owned their home.

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But it’s still above the national average of 66 per cent.

A growing number of Victorians are choosing to rent. Picture: David Caird

Real Estate Institute of Victoria vice president Leah Calnan said a combination of rising house prices across 2017, and changing lifestyles were behind escalating numbers of tenants across the state.

“In 2017 it was very, very difficult to buy into the market, there were some areas seeing quarterly increases of 30 per cent,” Ms Calnan said.

“Also, the younger generations are preferring to stay at home or rent so they can spend their money on lifestyle pursuits like socialising and travel.

“And because we are a more global workforce than we were 10 years ago, people don’t buy a home thinking they will live there for the next 10 years. There doesn’t seem to be that same thought process.”

Elaine Chan and Stephen Matthews bought their first property in Coburg North back in 2017. Picture: Tony Gough

The ABS survey also shows despite a record level of tenants in the state, accounting for 29.4 per cent of households, it is the least affordable time to rent a home, with landlords pocketing an average $366 (20.1 per cent of tenants household income) a week, compared to $202 (17.8 per cent) in the early 90s.

But renters are still better off in dollar terms than homeowners who shell out about $487 (16.7 per cent of their household income), also the highest figure on record.

While lower prices today could encourage more people to buy and leave the rental market, tighter lending restrictions would need to be relaxed before a significant shift was likely, Ms Calnan said.

Multiple first-home buyers pursued 1/25 Birch St, Tullamarine.

Despite the falling ownership numbers, the Commonwealth Bank yesterday revealed 74 per cent of Victorians still viewed homeownership as the great Australian dream.

CBA executive Dan Huggins said its Home Own survey showed the number of people who believe homeownership was “achievable” had risen.

“Over 90 per cent of Australians said property ownership was achievable for potential first-home buyers so long as they are willing to make sacrifices with regards to their spending,” Mr Huggins said.

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The ABS Survey of Income and Housing collected data from 14,000 Australian households, while the CBA survey captured the views of more than 1000 Australians.

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