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Home-ownership in Australia

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Home-ownership in Australia

An Old English-style family home in suburban Sydney.

Home ownership is a key cultural icon in Australia.[1] Australians have traditionally aspired to the modest Great Australian Dream of "owning a detached house on a fenced block of land."[1][2] Home-ownership has been seen as creating a responsible citizenry; according to a former Premier of Victoria, "The home owner feels that he has a stake in the country, and that he has something worth working for, living for, fighting for."[3]

The Australian government has encouraged broad-scale home-ownership through tax incentives(although mortgage interest is not tax deductible as, for example, in the USA); as a result, 70% of households own their own homes — one of the largest proportions of any nation.[3][4] The prevalence of home-ownership has meant that renters and owners are not divided as sharply along income lines as they are elsewhere: 55% of low-income households and 80% of high-income households are home-owners.[5]

In the past, home-ownership has been a sort of equalizing factor; in postwar Australia, immigrant Australians could often buy homes as quickly as native-born Australians.[2] Additionally, Australian suburbs have been more socio-economically mixed than those in America and to a lesser extent Britain. In Melbourne, for instance, one early observer noted that "a poor house stands side by side with a good house."[2]


A modern single family Australian home in East Killara, New South Wales.

Home-ownership in modern Australia, however, is becoming more exclusive. The ratio of Australians' average income to the price of the average home was at an all-time low in the late 1990s.[6] Young people are buying homes at the lowest rates ever, and changes in work patterns are reducing many households' ability to retain their homes.[7] Simultaneously, homes that are being constructed are increasing in size[1] and holding fewer people on average than in the past.[8] The fraction of houses with four or more bedrooms has increased from 15 percent in 1971 to greater than 30 percent in 2001.[9]

Note: The United States, China and the European Union are the world's biggest economies, representing more than half of Global GDP. Shanghai is considered to be a trend setter for Chinese development. US floor area dropped in 2008 because of the credit crisis.


In June 2011, The CEO of ANZ Bank, one of the big 4 banks in Australia and New Zealand said housing should not be a vehicle for speculative price growth, but simply as shelter.[10] He also criticized the Federal Government's policy on negative gearing tax breaks which increases the focus on housing as an investment rather than shelter and decrease affordability.[11]

See also



  1. ^ a b Winter, Ian and Wendy Stone. Social Polarisation and Housing Careers: Exploring the Interrelationship of Labour and Housing Markets in Australia. Australian Institute of Family Studies. March 1998.
  2. ^ a b c Davison, Graeme. "The Past & Future of the Australian Suburb." Australian Planner (Dec. 1994): 63-69.
  3. ^ a b Kemeny, Jim. "The Ideology of Home Ownership." Urban Planning in Australia: Critical Readings, ed. J. Brian McLoughlin and Margo Huxley. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire Pty Limited, 1986. p256-7.
  4. ^ Badcock, Blair and Andrew Beer. Home Truths: Property Ownership and Housing Wealth in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000, p2.
  5. ^ Kemeny, Jim. "A Political Sociology of Home Ownership in Australia." The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology 13 (1977): 47-52.
  6. ^ Badcock, Blair and Andrew Beer. Home Truths: Property Ownership and Housing Wealth in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000, p128.
  7. ^ Badcock, Blair and Andrew Beer. Home Truths: Property Ownership and Housing Wealth in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000, p150-152.
  8. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia Social Trends 1994: Housing – Housing Stock: Housing the Population. 18 Nov. 2002.
  9. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australia Social Trends: Housing – [2]. 22 Apr. 2004.
  10. ^ Sydney Morning Herald
  11. ^ Sydney Morning Herald
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