Castle in your dreams

Home ownership is beyond the reach of a growing number of Australians, according to new research by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. Less than a third of people who aspired to own a home three years ago have achieved that goal.

Three years ago 54 per cent of people interviewed said that buying a home was important or very important to them in the short term. Age, income, employment status and ethnicity influenced whether people were able to achieve that goal in the intervening years.

Couples with both partners working were five times more likely to be able to buy a property than single-income households. Households earning more than $30,000 per annum were almost twice as likely to have bought a house than those earning less than $20,000 p.a. And people from non-English-speaking backgrounds were twice as likely to have become home buyers.

It's been pretty rosy for higher income families, says AHURI's Mike Berry. While the Government's home buyers' grant has helped thousands of first home buyers enter the market, the property boom has been mainly driven by second and third-home buyers.

People with wealth are pushing prices up, says Mr Berry. As the prices go up their houses increase in value, so they can raise more money to buy more property. On the other hand, those on lower or insecure incomes get less money from the banks, and generally get stuck in the rental rut and struggle to save a deposit for even one home. A record number of people in the private rental market have been there for more than 10 years.
AHURI says the property market boom is further dividing the lines between rich and poor.

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