Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath

Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath
Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath

Australian home owners are staying put longer, with the average number of years that capital city residents hold their homes trending up since 2005 from 6.7 years to 10.7 years for houses and 5.9 years to 9 years for apartments, according to McGrath's latest report.

It noted the number of sales transactions has declined in line with this trend according to CoreLogic.

"Essentially it boils down to financial reasons and changes in the way we live today," John McGrath suggested.

Affordability and the costs of buying and selling are major factors.

"Stamp duty and agents’ fees alone currently run to about $55,000 on a median priced house in Sydney today."

Renovating is also on the rise, which tends to happen at the end of a boom when affordability falls. Instead of trading up, owners draw on new equity to renovate and extend instead.

"t’s not surprising that Melbourne and Sydney are our renovating hot spots right now," the report noted.

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Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath

"A strong economy is also encouraging people to stay put.

"Despite the GFC, it’s been 25 years since our last recession so the biggest economic factors that prompt people to sell – unemployment and financial stress – are less at play. People in secure jobs can stay put until personal circumstances demand a change of address.

"Which brings us to the second major element affecting hold periods – changes in the way we live.

"There has always been a strong correlation between people’s life stages and their housing needs, however in today’s modern world the traditional trends in the way we live are shifting and this is reducing the necessity to move," it noted.

Couple-only households and people who live alone are the fastest growing types of households in Australia today and they don’t need to move as much as growing families.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 46% of couple-only and lone person households have lived in their current home for 10 or more years compared to 28 percent of families with kids.

Young people are staying home longer, prompting many parents to delay their downsize or seachange.

When they buy their first home or rent with friends or a partner, they can stay there longer because they are delaying marriage and kids until much later in life.

Previously, as people’s incomes grew, they would look to upgrade to a better property but wage growth is not nearly keeping pace with property prices, so there are plenty of couples staying put in apartments or small houses until their first or second child comes along.

The average family size is also getting smaller, with a steady decline from 3-4 kids in the 1960s to 1-2 kids today.

"This means many families can stay put longer in properties with fewer bedrooms."

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Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath

We’re also seeing a rise in multi-generational households with couples and in-laws pooling funds to buy a large home that will suit them for the long term.

ABS data shows the majority of multi-family households stay put for 10-20 years or more.

The ageing population is also contributing to longer hold periods.

Mortgage-free home ownership is highest amongst older Australians and they prefer to stay put long term if they can, with 47% of owners without a mortgage living in their homes for more than 20 years.

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Homeowners are staying longer: McGrath

Staying put means avoiding moving costs and preserving pension arrangements, which can change after selling.

The GFC also prompted many empty-nesters to delay retirement and stay put while they continued working to replenish lost superannuation.

Buying and holding is the key to success in Australian real estate.

Although owner-occupiers are primarily motivated by lifestyle factors, it’s important to remember that your home is your greatest financial asset and the best capital growth always occurs over the long term.

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Mcgrath Households

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