AHURI BRIEF

More young adults staying home, for longer

One third of young adults not living independently

Last updated 1 October 2019

Traditionally early adulthood, for Australians aged between 25 and 34, was the time when people formed long-term relationships and bought their first home. In 1995–96 the average age of first home buyers purchasing a new home was 33 years, whereas 22 years later in 2017–18 the average age of first home buyers was 36 years.

As part of this trend early adults (aged 25 to 34) are increasingly staying in their parent’s home longer (or returning home) or living in shared housing. In 2003–04, 14 per cent of early adults were living at home with their parents, by 2015–16 the share had increased (by 43%) to 20 per cent. Over the same time period, the share of early adults in group households increased from 11 per cent to 13 per cent (an 18% increase).

The reasons why early adults stay living with their parents are suggested in findings from a recent AHURI research survey, with the most common reason being that they are trying to save enough money to be able to move out.

Table 1: Reasons for early adults (25–34 years) to move back home.

ReasonPercentage

Trying to save money to move out

28.8

It is convenient for my/our current needs

25.4

Trying to save money for other expenses/activities

21.2

Happy living at home for now and there is no need to move

21.0

Want to move out but can’t afford it

19.9

My job is not secure enough to afford to rent/buy my own dwelling

19.7

Need to look after my/our parents

19.4

Need help from my parents, e.g. health care

11.4

Am studying and living at home is convenient

10.9

Other

4.1

Source: Parkinson, S., Rowley, S., Stone, W., James, A., Spinney, A., Reynolds, M. (2019) Young Australians and the housing aspirations gap, AHURI Final Report No. 318, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/318, doi:10.18408/ahuri-5117101.

For those early adults who are sharing in a group house not being able to afford any other housing option is the biggest reason for continuing with share living.

Table 2: Reasons for early adults (25–34 years) to share in a group house.

ReasonPercentage

Can’t afford any other option

40.1

Like living with friends

31.2

Allows me/us to live in my preferred location

14.4

Like living with family

9.9

Am a student

7.4

Have no other option

6.4

Don’t want to live with parents

4.0

Don’t want to live on my/our own

3.5

Other

8.9

Source: Parkinson, S., Rowley, S., Stone, W., James, A., Spinney, A., Reynolds, M. (2019) Young Australians and the housing aspirations gap, AHURI Final Report No. 318, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/318, doi:10.18408/ahuri-5117101.

A related AHURI Brief further examines the age at which Australians are purchasing their first home.