Home ownership underscores many of HIA’s policy positions – it is something we’ve long advocated for regardless of the ebbs and flows of the public conversation. At the heart of this advocacy is that housing – shelter – is a basic human need. Adequate and appropriate housing that is proximate to jobs, services and community is the basis for families and individuals to contribute, participate and flourish in society.
With home ownership comes greater autonomy, and a sense of financial and social stability – all of which are key ingredients to a cohesive and well-functioning society. The great majority of Australians look to achieve home ownership, yet there is growing despondency that for many it may be beyond their reach.
At best, home ownership in Australia is being delayed. However, it is likely that for a growing cohort of households this delay will ultimately dissolve their home ownership aspirations into an unachievable dream.
Home ownership is best viewed from the perspective of first home buyers (FHBs). There are many (and evolving) factors that have ultimately seen would-be FHBs delay (and for some, abandon) efforts to enter into the property market.
Of course in the years just prior to the building boom of 2014–2018, poor affordability – underscored by insufficient housing supply – had been the number one culprit. The supply of affordable housing had failed to keep pace with demographic demand, placing great pressure on residential property prices (and who can forget the four years in Sydney when house prices were generally growing by the double digits at an annual rate?).
Housing supply today has just about caught up with demand, putting at best, a short-lived lid on price pressures and thereby improving affordability. So long as there is not a repeat of the consistent underbuilding of the 2000s (of course this is a great, big ‘if’ and policymakers, planners and regulators should not take this for granted), the emerging price increases should remain reasonably contained.