Media Release

Housing supply in Australia not living up to market demand

Downsizing a preferred option for more than 80 per cent of older households
ContactsRachel Ong, Deputy Director
Kelly Pohatu, Events and Communications Officer
Published6 June 2016

Australia’s housing stock is not meeting the demands of current and future markets, according to findings in a new Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report.

Keeping a Roof Over our Heads: BCEC Housing Affordability Report 2016 is the Centre’s second Housing Affordability report, and features findings from a new BCEC Housing Affordability Survey of over 4,000 households in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

The report shows that while more than 80 per cent of older households would like to downsize their home, 44 per cent did not believe there were enough housing options to be able to realise this.

Lead researcher and BCEC Deputy Director, Associate Professor Rachel Ong, said that the current housing stock options available in Australia were not meeting the demands of our changing population.

“Our ageing population raises new challenges and opportunities in relation to housing options for older households, including downsizing,” Associate Professor Ong said.

“Older Australians want options that allow them to remain in the areas where they currently live, while reducing the burden of taking care of large homes.

“On the other hand, Gen Y households continue to face severe barriers to accessing home ownership.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • 16 per cent of 55-64 year olds and one-quarter of households aged 64+ have already downsized.
  • Among those that had not already downsized, 80 per cent would like to downsize in the future.
  • 58 per cent of older households thought the costs of downsizing, such as stamp duty and real estate agent fees, were too great to be able to downsize.
  • More than 44 per cent did not believe there were enough affordable housing options in the area they would want to live or suitable housing options.
  • Around two-thirds of older households that downsized remained as home owners, while 17 per cent went from home ownership to rental and six per cent went from owned outright to owning with a mortgage.
  • The most common reason to downsize was to live in a smaller house that is easier to run.
  • Almost 80 per cent of Perth’s housing stock is made up of separate houses, compared to just 61 per cent in Sydney. Over one-quarter of Sydney households live in units compared to just nine per cent in Perth.
  • Of the Gen Y households that own or are paying off a home, 38 per cent received help from their parents or grandparents.
  • Among those not yet in home ownership, only around a fifth of those living with parents (21 per cent) and in group households (18 per cent) expected to receive any help from parents or grandparents to assist them into home ownership.
  • Help from government, including stamp duty relief, is viewed by Gen Y’s as very important in enabling access to home ownership.
  • Access to superannuation to fund a deposit for a home is also considered very important by young people looking to enter the housing market.
  • “Delivering the type of housing Australians want, in the locations where they would prefer to live, presents industry and government with a challenge,” Associate Professor Ong said.
  • “Making downsizing less costly is likely to be ‘doubly beneficial,’ by freeing up existing housing stock for younger families while allowing older households to reduce their housing costs.”