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Australian homeowners are 20 times better than those who rent

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Exclusive Australian Bureau of Statistics data has revealed the staggering difference in wealth of older Australians in owner-occupied households compared to those that rent.

Key points:

  • Those who own property as they approach retirement are much better off than those of the same age who rent, ABS data shows
  • Rates of home ownership fell among every age group between 2011 and 2016
  • Economist Brendan Coates says if fewer Australians own their home “it will have enormous consequences for all aspects of Australian life”

In 2017-18, the ABS found that property-owning households — where at least one of the occupants was 65 and over — had a median net worth of $960,000.

Similar households that were still paying off a mortgage had a median net worth of $934,900.

In stark contrast, the median net worth of similar households that rent was just $40,800.

“People who are not in the housing market will find it more difficult over time,” ANZ economist Felicity Emmett told 7.30.

“I think we will see a situation where wealth inequality and particularly intergenerational inequality rises.”

Nicki Hutley, partner at Deloitte Access Economics, believes Australia is in danger of creating a separate class of Australians who will not reap the many benefits that come with home ownership.

“Are we allowing one class of Australians to build for their retirement more easily than another class of Australians? The answer to that is unequivocally yes,” she said.

Ms Hutley has warned that Australia is in the grip of a housing affordability crisis that will lock a growing number of people out of the property market.

Analysis provided to 7.30 by the Reserve Bank of Australia confirms rates of home ownership fell among every age group between 2011 and 2016.

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