Aussies agree home ownership is still the Australian dream
12 December 2016
- Stability (65%), financial security (64%) and a sense of achievement (56%) are what home ownership means to Australians.
- 86% of home owners believe owning a property is a pathway to wealth.
- Of those whose first property purchase was an investment property rather than a home to live in, 44 per cent did so because they believed it was the only way they could get into the property market.
Westpac’s 2016 Home Ownership report has found that close to 9 in 10 (87%) of Australian home owners and intending first home buyers still believe that owning their own home is the Australian dream.
The research commissioned by Westpac has found Aussie home owners agree that owning a property is a pathway to wealth (86%), up five percentage points since 2015. They also believe that owning their own home is a reflection of their success in life (79%), up seven percentage points since 2015.
Getting help from family and friends is an increasing trend, with 86 per cent of respondents saying few Australians today can afford a home on one income without family support.
This sentiment is supported by the research which found that those who bought their first home within the last four years were three times more likely to have borrowed money from family or friends (24%), than those who bought their first home five or more years ago (8%).
Chris Screen, Westpac Group Head of Home Ownership said “As the Australian property market becomes increasingly tough, first home buyers are looking for different ways to achieve their home ownership dream.”
Home loan affordability (32%) and difficulty in saving a deposit (29%) were identified as the most common challenges faced in the lead up to purchasing a first home. Respondents who have purchased a property said being unprepared for general home owning costs in the first two years after purchasing their first home was a key challenge (27%), and this was particularly so for current first home buyers (40%).
“Affordability is a key concern for many Australians looking to get into the property market,” said Mr Screen. “Some first home buyers do not consider the expenses they will incur after they’ve purchased their property. I recommend intending first home buyers create a budget to monitor their income minus their everyday expenses. This will be a good indicator of how much they’ll be able to commit to repayments.”
Buying an investment property is more commonly considered among those who are purchasing a property within the next two years (69%) than current home owners (20%) – an increase of four percentage points since 2015. Among home owners who prioritise buying an investment property, 63 per cent say it is to invest in ‘bricks and mortar’. Interestingly, 44 per cent of those whose first property purchase was an investment property did so because they believed it was the only way they could get into the property market.
While the majority of home owners and intending first home buyers believe purchasing a home is the first step to a happy family life (68%), the report has uncovered 28 per cent would be willing to forgo the dream of owning their own home for perceived better financial returns through other forms of investment, such as stocks or managed funds.
Despite a challenging market, the research has found Australians still feel positive about home ownership, and when asked what it means to them, listed stability (65%), financial security (64%) and a sense of achievement (56%).
“There’s a lot to consider when purchasing a home. To ensure you’re making informed choices it’s important to reach out to a home finance manager to discuss your specific situation, needs and options,” said Mr Screen.
About the Westpac 2016 Home Ownership Report
The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,119 Home Owners and Intending First Home Buyers. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 2 September and 9 September 2016. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
For further information, please contact:
Emalie McPherson, Westpac
M: 0466 391 354
 Those who bought their first home within the last two years.