Young Australians give up home ownership dream

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A new Grattan Institute report has revealed that older Australians are getting richer while the younger generations’ wealth has stagnated, as the housing boom, taxation and welfare systems become more advantageous to seniors.

The report, titled The Wealth of Generations, said older Australians are getting a growing share of the nation's wealth due to growth in property prices between 1995 and 2012.

However, the price hikes made it more difficult for younger people to afford their own homes the way their parents did, as is the case of Madeleine Holme, 31.

Holme and her partner have given up on finding their affordable dream house. Her parents, on the other hand, were able to buy their first Blue Mountains property in their early 30s and now have another property in Nowra.

"I think everyone's given up. Everyone I know is renting in their late 20s and mid-30s. I'd like to think I'll buy a house eventually. But my parents bought when they were younger than I am, and their mortgage was less of a proportion of their income,” she told Sydney Morning Herald

The report also showed most age groups had more money in 2011-12 than those of the same age eight years earlier. An average 55-64 year-old household, for example, was $173,000 wealthier in real terms in 2011-12 than in 2003-04. On the other hand, an average 65-74-year-old household was $215,000 richer.

However, the average 35-44-year-old household was only $80,000 richer than a household of that age in 2003-04, while the average 25-34-year-old household had less wealth in 2011-12 than one of the similar age eight years before.

"The generational bargain, under which each generation of working Australians supports retirees while still improving its own standard of living, is at risk," Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley said.

He argued “much of the government spending had been funded by budget deficits, and the burden of repaying this debt would fall disproportionately on younger people”.

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