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Report Home ownership Housing markets

Mid-life Australians and the housing aspirations gap

Final Report No. 336

Date Published: 17 Sep 2020

Authors: Wendy Stone Steven Rowley Amity James Sharon Parkinson Angela Spinney Margaret Reynolds Iris Levin

This research investigates the housing aspirations of mid-life Australians: those aged 35 to 54 years, with a focus on low to moderate-income households. 

Mid-life Australians aged 35–54 years make up 34 per cent of all adult residents and account for more than six million individuals. Mid-life housing aspirations are related to key priorities that centre around consolidation of employment, wealth and property; caring for children and family life and/or assisting parents and kin as they age; as well as preparation for retirement years and later-life.

Eighty per cent of surveyed 35–44 year olds and 93 per cent of 45–54 year olds indicated that a detached or semi-detached house was what they aspired to. The aspects of a house identified as important related directly to the liveability of dwellings: adequate number of bedrooms; dwelling quality and condition; and dwelling security.

Ownership was favoured by a large majority of mid-life households, however living with children was associated with a higher desire for home ownership relative to those without. Close to a third of mid-life households favour middle/outer suburbs and over a third (35%) favour regional living, indicating that a preference for larger allotments dominates the preferences of mid-life households, 

Owners (with or without a mortgage) are most likely to report their current dwelling will meet their future housing aspirations (66%), followed by households living in social housing (60%). These tenures provide affordability in the long-run as well as relative security of tenure. In comparison, only 45 per cent of mid-life households living in the private rental sector believe their current housing will adequately meet their longer term housing aspirations.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri-5117201

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-00-7


Citation: Stone, W., Rowley, S., James, A., Parkinson,, S., Spinney, A., Reynolds, M., and Levin, I. (2020) Mid-life Australians and the housing aspirations gap, AHURI Final Report No. 336, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/336, doi:10.18408/ahuri-5117201.

Stone, Wendy
Rowley, Steven
James, Amity
Parkinson, Sharon
Spinney, Angela
Reynolds, Margaret
Levin, Iris