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Young Australians still want big houses, and are surprisingly sure they’ll get them

young people and dog
Photo by Stephanie Liverani on Unsplash

The Great Australian Dream is still alive and well for many young Australians.

A new report from Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found 60 per cent of people aged 18–24 years see home-ownership as the preferred housing option.

Between 25 and 34, the dream of home-ownership jumps to 70 per cent.

The detached house endures as the preferred type of home for “emerging adults” (18-24 years), with 54 per cent aspiring to live in a house and 34 per cent in an apartment.

Bigger is better for this age bracket, with around 32 per cent wanting four or more bedrooms compared to 30 per cent wanting one or two.

“Early adults” (25-34) also want room for a pony. Sixty-eight per cent aspire to live in a house, compared to 21 per cent in an apartment. Over 43 per cent want four or more bedrooms compared to 22 per cent wanting one or two.

And despite the prominence of housing affordability issues, young Australians seem to have “blind optimism” they will own a home. Nearly a third of emerging adults felt that purchasing a dwelling was a possibility within the next five years and over a third considered owner-occupation as attainable in five to 10 years.

The remaining third are not-so-confident and did not feel it would be possible to purchase or were not intending to purchase a dwelling. Many were “acutely aware of the constraints relative to their parents’ generation” to home ownership.

A key finding in the report was despite the relative optimism of young Australians to buy a home, there’s a notable disparity in confidence between the tertiary educated and those educated to year 12 and below.

This divide becomes more prominent in the older age bracket. Nearly 61 per cent with a tertiary education believed it was possible to purchase a home within five years, compared with just 36 per cent of those with a year 12 or below education.

The report also found that housing instability and informal sharing with friends and family was common, with 34 per cent of young emerging adults who had lived out of the family home reporting periods of homelessness.

The figures suggest more young people will in fact be staying at home longer. Just 17 per cent of emerging adults were living in independent households in 2016-17.

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