Budget moves fail to ease housing affordability concerns for singles, young

Budget moves fail to ease housing affordability concerns for singles, young
Budget moves fail to ease housing affordability concerns for singles, young

The federal budget measures and state announcements to make housing more affordable seems to be having little impact on single people and the younger generation, a recent survey has found.

Although both NSW and Victoria have abolished stamp duty for first home buyers on properties up to 650,000 and 600,000 respectively, the fact is that home prices in the popular suburbs are almost always above these levels.

Any reduced or full stamp duty for properties exceeding these prices will still be hefty.

With it now taking an average of 8.4 years for a couple to raise the $214,600 deposit required for a median-price house in Sydney, single people in particular, who are having to stump up most of the cash on their own, might continue to struggle to get into the market as the new financial year progresses.

A recent Galaxy Research survey of 1,006 people for debt solutions company Fox Symes found that significantly more single people (27 per cent) say the issue of housing affordability is having a major impact on their life right now compared to couples (15 per cent).

In addition, home ownership continues to worry young people. A large 40 per cent of respondents aged 18 – 24 name it as their biggest financial concern, followed by 29 per cent of those aged 24 – 34, and 21 per cent of Gen X-ers aged 35-49. 

Some 19 per cent of Australians overall are stressed about the issue with the highest percentage (26 per cent) among those in NSW, where housing prices are the most expensive. This was followed by Queensland (17 per cent), Victoria (16 per cent), South Australia (15 per cent) and WA (11 per cent).

“Whilst some new budgetary reforms are now taking place including restrictions on foreign investment, I still think we need to have ongoing discussions regarding housing affordability,” said Fox Symes director Deborah Southon. 

“Nowadays it can be very difficult for people who are on their own to get into the housing market and remain there comfortably. Even if they do manage to scrape up the deposit and take the plunge, they may end up taking on a mortgage they can’t really afford. This could land them in debt if they’re forced to rely on credit cards to help pay for expenses.”

Southon suggested that single people may have into alternative strategies such as buying into the market with a friend or relative, or buying a cheaper investment property whilst continuing to rent in their desired area. 

“We need to continue to create more solutions to address this problem which could only worsen in years to come and lead to financial stress for many. The issue is far from over.”

Earlier this year, an HSBC survey found that home ownership among Australian millennials was among the lowest, with less than a third (28 percent) owning one. A majority cited high property prices as a major barrier.

The survey also found that nearly one in 10 Australians (8 per cent) also say uncertainty over whether banks will raise interest rates is making them nervous. New levies set for big banks could also be passed onto customers in the form of increased banking charges.

Other costs currently stressing people out which could escalate are electricity and gas costs (17 per cent) - set to rise with big providers AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy poised to hike prices up to 20 per cent extra, and education (5 per cent) which may result in fee increases for some schools under Gonski 2.0. 

Private health insurance costs (23 per cent), grocery prices (11 per cent) and childcare fees (4 per cent) are also causing headaches for Aussies.

“Unfortunately, debt is the inevitable outcome when we spend more than we earn and with so many costs on the rise it’s a very easy trap to fall into,” Southon says. “If we want to live within our means then we need to budget and consistently monitor what we spend – now more than ever.” 

Galaxy Research conducted the online survey amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,006 Australians aged 18 years and older covering: NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, QLD, SA and WA.

Tags: 
Housing Affordability Budget

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