Millennials locked out of the housing market by the older generations

Dr Braam Lowies, Senior Lecturer in Property at the University of South Australia

Contradictory government policies are creating intergenerational inequity.

A newly released research from the University of South Australia has shown that the housing market is failing to concurrently cater for both older and younger generations.

The research paper explores generational differences in property tenure in Australia and UniSA housing experts identified an inequitable distribution of housing among the old and young.

Older generations, Silent Generation and Baby Boomers hold the lion’s share of housing properties which, by default, locks out their younger Millennial (or Gen Y) counterparts.

Millennials locked housing market by soaring prices

Over three census periods (2006, 2011 and 2016) researchers found that 80% of older generations were long-standing homeowners compared to only about 50% of Millennials.

Therefore it is a situation that has been exacerbated by Australia’s soaring house prices, where recent reports indicate that Australian home buyers paid an average of $1,066,133 in order to secure a home over the past year, which is representing a national increase of 25%.

Lead researcher, Dr Braam Lowies says that aside from the financial constraints, the research highlights how policies designed to protect one generation, can hinder another.

“In Australia, owning your own home has always been the great Aussie dream. But each year, this dream is becoming further out of reach for younger Australians,” Dr Lowies says.

“Australia has an ageing population, the majority of whom report a desire to ‘age in place’ – to live in the community with some independence, rather than in residential care.”

“And with growing support from the government, such as home support programs and home care packages, older people can do this with greater confidence and security.”

“However, Millennials are finding themselves locked-out of the market as the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers retain a significant portion of the housing stock, much of which has considerable value and development potential due to its lot size and location.”

“For Millennials, this limits their housing options and creates housing tenure inequalities.”

“The younger people are frequently being compelled to revert to the parental home or the rental market and this is despite government grants to support first home buyers.”

Better housing policies needed to address differences

68% of Boomers owned their home by the age of 30-34 compared with 50% of Millennials.

A property expert at UniSA, Peter Rossini, advances the fact that more nuanced housing policies are urgently needed in order to address intergenerational differences.

“With more than 15% of the population or 3.7 million Australians aged over 65, and many estimations concurring that the population will grow to 22% or 8.7 million people by 2056, the conundrum of one generation impeding another is not about to go away any time soon.”

“Having bipolar housing scenarios across generations is a demonstration of how the current system is unbalanced and thus it is an unsustainable position and one that requires a review of current housing policy to deliver more refined and considered outcomes for all.”