House prices reshaping family structure

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Steven Cross

House prices are reshaping the traditionally ‘standard’ family structure by forcing people to have fewer children later in life, a new report has found.

The report by policy research house the McKell Institute says house prices are forcing buyers under the age of 35 to rent or even live at home with their parents for longer to save for a deposit.

“A generational gap has opened up over home ownership in Australia and particularly cities like Sydney where 67 per cent ownership overall conceals a significant fall of ownership over the last few decades amongst 30-35 year olds,” the report says.

“This cohort is increasingly renting or even, quite unlike previous generations, now exhibits a trend towards living at home with their parents, for longer. When this cohort does form households, they do so later and then proceed to have fewer children because of it.”

The report claims that first time buyers are getting older, with buyers on the first rung of the property ownership ladder now in their mid-30s. As of 2008, only 38 per cent of Australians under 35 owned their own home, compared to 44 per cent in 2001

“Whether or not such age groups… wish to buy their own house or unit, they are increasingly unable to do so. But they still need a home,” the report said.

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