Deferral in home ownership in line with other major life events

Some interesting research out recently shows how the steady deferral in home ownership over the past 50 years has accompanied delays in all other major life events. Buying a first home has pushed out from 27 years to 33 years of age and paying off the mortgage from 52 to 62.

The research comes courtesy of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) which focusses on research in the field of population ageing.

In Australia, the topic of housing occupies many a newspaper column, barbeque conversation and research report. Just over half (or $6.3 trillion) of Australian household wealth is stored in housing, distributed across 10.3 million residential dwellings, which are among the most expensive in the world.

The median age of first buying a house decreased in the 1960s-70s as home ownership became widespread. It has since increased by 9 years from 1981 (from age 24 to 33). But deferral in home ownership accompanies delays in all other major life events over the last half-century, as shown below.

These include a delay in the median age of getting a first job (2 years), finishing education (5 years), having a child (7 years), getting married (8 years), and dying (12 years). The good news is that despite deferring their first home purchase by 9 years, longer living younger generations will still probably enjoy home ownership longer than their parents.

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