Shifting housing market means an uncertain future for more of us

The nature of the centrepiece of the Australian housing system – owner occupation – is quietly undergoing a profound transformation.

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.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey indicates that, during the first decade of the new millennium, 1.9 million spells of home ownership ended with a move into renting (one-fifth of all home ownership spells that were ongoing in that period).

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