When falling home ownership and ageing baby boomers collide

Until now, the majority of older people in Australia have achieved the goal of owning their own home outright. Hence, policymakers have typically shown little concern about the size and budget costs of rental housing assistance programs for seniors. However, two major societal shifts are set to propel such programs into the spotlight as a prominent government subsidy for older Australians.

The first trend is population ageing. We anticipate that baby boomers will place growing pressure on housing assistance programs as they age.

This is simply because of their larger numbers compared to earlier generations. Applying ABS population projections to data from the 2011 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, we project the population of Australians aged 55 years and over will increase from 5.1 million to 7.9 million between 2011 and 2031 – a 55% increase.

A second shift – falling rates of home ownership – could further increase the demands on the housing system. The HILDA Survey reveals rates of home ownership have fallen from 72% in 2001 to 66% in 2016.

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Source: The Conversation