Home ownership foundations are being shaken, and the impacts will be felt far and wide

The nature of the centrepiece of the Australian housing system – owner occupation – is quietly undergoing a profound transformation. Once taken for granted by the mainstream, home ownership is increasingly precarious. At the margins, which are wide, it is as if a whole new form of tenure has emerged.

Whatever the drivers, significant and lasting shifts are shaking the foundations of home ownership. The effects are far-reaching and could undermine both the financial and wider well-being of all Australian households.

Over the course of 100 years, Australians became accustomed to smooth housing pathways from leaving the parental home to owning their house outright. However, not only did the 2008-09 global financial crisis (GFC) underline the risk of dropping out along the way, but more recent Australian evidence has shown that the old pathways have been displaced by more uncertain routes that waver between owning and renting.

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