Most Young People Reckon They’ll Own A House One Day, But The Data Says They’re Dreamin’

Don't get your hopes up.

The Castle HILDA

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A recent survey has found that almost 4 out of 5 young Australians believe they will one day own their own home. But the reality may be far less rosy than they realise.

On Tuesday, youth broadcaster triple j published the results of its What’s Up In Your World survey. The census polled 11,000 Aussies aged 18 to 29 on a variety of subjects including their living situations, their attitudes towards sex, and their relationships with drugs and alcohol. There’s actually a bunch of interesting information in there. For example: only 7 percent of those surveyed think politicians are working in the best interests of young people. Which seems pretty generous, tbh.

Another intriguing nugget to come out of the poll is that 79 percent of those surveyed believe they’ll own a house someday. That’s despite the fact that over half the participants have less than $5,000 in savings, and 27 percent listed housing affordability as the most pressing issue currently facing young people (second only to mental health).

So are these would-be home owners kidding themselves? Well, based on the information gleaned from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey, which was also released on Tuesday, the answer seems like a fairly resounding yes.

The HILDA survey works a little differently to your average poll. It’s been collecting data every year from the same group of households since way back in 2001, revealing changes over time. Think of it like the movie Boyhood, but with lots of really depressing statistics.

According to the latest HILDA survey, the number of people living in rental accommodation in Australia has gone up from 23 percent in 2001 to 28 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of young people going from renting to owning has dropped significantly. Between 2001 and 2004, 13.5 percent of renters between the ages of 18 to 24 became home owners. From 2013 to 2016, only 7.6 percent made the same jump.

To make matters worse, the average household income rose just 2.4 percent between 2009 and 2016.

“I think decline in home ownership is a very big concern that has a very strong link to growing evidence of intergenerational inequality,” the survey’s lead author, Roger Wilkins from the University of Melbourne, told The Conversation.

“Particularly younger people in the age range up to around 40, compared with older people, the baby boomer generation. There’s been a growth in inequality across the generations and it’s very much tied to home ownership.”

So there you have it, young people. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.