A continued housing upswing has carried into 2024 according to recent data from CoreLogic.  The National Home Value Index (HVI) rising 0.4% in January, up from the 0.3% increases in November and December 2023, has now had 12 consecutive months of value rises.  Homeowners can rejoice as their investments continue to increase in value and retirees ready to downsize can enjoy comfortable nest eggs from property sales profits.  

While it may seem like good news all round, for some, continued growth in the housing sector isn’t met with enthusiasm.  A whole generation of Aussies yet to dip their toes in the market will not be celebrating.  A tight rental market doesn’t help either, with high demand and even higher rents, making it hard for young people to find secure and affordable housing as renters or first home buyers.

Having a house with a backyard to play in was pretty standard for most kids growing up in Australia 20 years ago and beyond, no matter which town or city they lived.  It would never have occurred to them (or their parents) at the time that perhaps they may never own a house themselves.  According to Finder “the average Australian in 1984 could buy a home that cost 3.3 times their annual income. In 2023, it's 10 times what the average person earns in a year. “The expectation that basic housing would always be affordable to the average working Australian for the foreseeable future was not all that unrealistic…until now."

Today in 2024 we have almost an entire generation of 20-30+ somethings still living with their parents or share housing squirrelling away savings for a deposit while prices continue to climb.  While previous generations enjoy the growth of the market, arrange their retirement plans and live off their property investments, young people wonder if they will ever get a chance to live the dream.

Housing values have continued to climb over several decades, but the value of money itself has seemingly declined.  These days, much of our disposable income is spent on disposable stuff.  We want to travel on a whim, keep up with fashion, update our decor AND buy property.  We want it all.  But the average Australian on an average wage actually can't afford to buy property without committing to a dedicated personal savings campaign and giving up some luxuries for a while.

Perhaps, as we witness a new economic era unfolding before our very eyes, including soaring costs of living and a housing affordability crisis, it is time for us to rethink our spending as a society.  Perhaps it's time to simplify our lives (along with our expectations) in order to build a sustainable future not only for young people today but for future generations.   Let us prioritise saving over spending and work toward long term goals (such as saving for a home) over short term gains (such as a new wardrobe).  Perhaps over time we’ll also see a shift in how families live, with three generations living under the one roof instead of living apart.   Perhaps this housing crisis will actually bring families closer together, strengthening relationships and cultivate deeper connection. 

There’s also more support than ever before to help first home buyers into their own home sooner with a number of Government funded schemes and support options available.  Australian Mutual Bank is proud to be a participating lender in the Australian Government’s First Home Guarantee (FHBG) as well as Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG) and the Family Home Guarantee (FHG), supporting single parents to get into their own home sooner. 

In addition to existing Government schemes, the new Help To Buy Scheme slated to begin early 2024 (dates not yet announced) will make homeownership a reality for 40,000 Australians who would otherwise not be able to afford home ownership.  Once rolled out, Help to Buy will support eligible homebuyers with an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent for new homes and 30 per cent for existing homes. 

Anything is possible with hard work and determination.  Including owning a home.  I rented for over 22 years before I was able to call the roof over my head my own.  Like most significant goals, it’s a matter of committing to it and working toward it step by step until it’s a reality.  The best things in life are worth pursuing, so don’t give up if it’s your dream too.

To explore eligibility and the terms and conditions of existing incentives please visit The Housing Australian Website.  Alternatively, you can speak to one of the friendly customer service representatives at Australian Mutual Bank or visit the First Home Buyers page on the website to explore first home buyer options and schemes.

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur.  She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.  

15 March 2024