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Inquiry into housing policies and practices for precariously housed older Australians

Final Report No. 406

Date Published: 03 Aug 2023

Authors: Debbie Faulkner Andrea Sharam Amity James Selina Tually Helen Barrie

This final Inquiry brings together the findings of three research projects to address how Australia can deliver the types of housing precariously housed individuals in, or approaching, retirement need to support their life aspirations, wellbeing, participation and inclusion. 

Over the last 20 years, housing options for older Australians on lower incomes have been getting worse with home ownership rates falling, more people carrying their mortgage debt into retirement and reduced access to social housing. By 2031 an estimated 440,000 older households will be unable to find or afford suitable housing.

Lower income older Australians want housing that is achievable, with some factors gaining greater significance as people get older, such as they want to stay in an affordable home and to live in safe, secure and neighbourhoods. The Inquiry developed and explored alternative housing models through a survey with lower income households. There was a clear preference for a shared equity home ownership model, a cooperative housing model and a transportable housing model, which reflects the expectation that it is ‘normal’ to own one’s home in Australia.

In addition, the research highlights that, even though many low income older householders can’t afford any form of mortgage, some people are paying large proportions of their income on rent. If they could get a loan there are two options that have the potential to deliver forms of home ownership, with the security of tenure and well being that provides: shared equity mortgages and land lease mortgages.

The research mapped the increases (and decreases) in populations of older low income households across Australia and predicted changes in each area to 2031, measured in suburb-sized geographical areas. The largest projected increases are likely to be in peri-urban and outer-suburban regions, with some significant rises in regional and rural locations.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri3225001

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-73-1


Faulkner, D., Sharam, A., James, A., Tually, S. and Barrie, H. (2023) Inquiry into housing policies and practices for precariously housed older Australians, AHURI Final Report No. 406, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne,, doi: 10.18408/ahuri3225001.

Faulkner, Debbie
Sharam, Andrea
James, Amity
Tually, Selina
Barrie, Helen