Home ownership has been the centrepiece of Australia’s housing policy since the end of the second world war. It has been supported with hugely significant subsidies and benefits, from first home owner grants, to exemption from capital gains tax and from the pension assets test.
As a result, home ownership has become a basis for financial security, retirement income adequacy, as well as the other benefits associated with ‘home’ (too often not available to renters).
But this also means that housing policy has become blind to the well-being and needs of those who are not home owners. And over the past couple of decades, more and more people, particularly lower income households, are being locked out of home ownership.
Since the 1990s house prices have dramatically increased, and in markets such as Sydney, only 7% of home purchase stock was affordable to low income households. 54% of lower income households with a mortgage in NSW are in housing stress. One result is that home ownership rates have fallen – particularly amongst younger households.
Home ownership opportunities and benefits are now becoming divided between, older and younger, well-off households and low and moderate income, those who have achieved home ownership and those increasingly locked out.
Shelter and homeownership
While Shelter advocates for a fair housing system, no matter what tenure, much of our focus is on renters who are more likely to be disadvantaged than owners. But the changes to access to homeownership mean that Shelter is also concerned about the situation of lower income owners and purchasers.
We are also interested in mixed models that present new ways of sharing the benefits of ownership more widely.
Recently we have produced reports and submissions on:
- Shared equity ownership: consumer protection
- Sustainable home ownership for low income households
- Community land trust, what are they?
- Strata title law
- Submission on strata title law reform