New poll suggests one fifth of Australian home owners struggling with repayments

An ANU poll shows that one fifth of Australian home owners are struggling to meet their home loan repayments and two per cent have fallen behind.

Homes are seen from a commercial aircraft

A poll shows that one fifth of Australian home owners are struggling to meet their loan repayments. (AAP)

Mortgage repayments have become a huge struggle for a significant chunk of Australians and most believe the dream of home ownership will be out of reach for future generations, a poll shows.

As the federal government prepares to unveil housing affordability measures in Tuesday's budget, an ANU survey shows that one fifth of people are struggling to meet mortgage or rent payments, with two per cent having fallen behind.

Nearly a quarter said they would be in quite a bit or a lot of difficulty if interest rates jump by two percentage points, while nearly 90 per cent are concerned that future generations won't be able to afford to buy a house.

Significantly, almost half were willing to see their property values stop increasing even further to help improve affordability.

ANU Associate Professor Ben Phillips said the findings suggest Australians are willing to support government measures that would allow more homes to be built, as well as scrapping incentives such as negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

"This may suggest that the issue of housing affordability is acute enough that Australians may accept policy change that could reduce prices or the rate of price growth to allow more equitable access to the housing market," he said on Sunday.

The government had flagged that it will use the budget to announce new measures to improve housing affordability, but has recently been playing down expectations about their significance.

It has suggested establishing a "bond aggregator" to help attract greater private sector investment into affordable community housing, as well as introducing possible incentives to encourage older people to downsize in order to free-up family homes.

Economists argue that tighter lending standards, rising interest rates and an increase in housing supply make a federal budget package on housing unnecessary.

In the year to April, house prices soared 17 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne and by 12 per cent across all capital cities. However wages rose by just two per cent.

The ANU poll found that 85 per cent of the 2,513 Australians surveyed in March expect housing prices to rise in the next five years.

More than a quarter have already reduced their spending on luxuries to meet home loan repayments or rent, and nearly a fifth have cut back on essentials.

Some have started working longer hours or returned to the workforce to help stump up the cash they need to pay for their home loans or rent, while others have taken on a second job, sold assets or delayed having kids or getting married.

Of those surveyed, 17 per cent either owned an investment property themselves or had a partner who did.

While the government has ruled out changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax concessions, half of the ANU poll respondents believed they should be scrapped.

Nearly two thirds wanted to see the supply of public housing increased, and more than half wanted to see more housing in their local area.

However respondents were evenly split on whether planning laws should be relaxed to boost the supply of new housing, with just under half backing such an idea and nearly one third opposed.

Attitudes to housing affordability


  • 38.3pct keep up with mortgage repayments/rent
  • 17.8pct keep up, but it is a constant struggle
  • 2.2pct are falling behind with payments
Home ownership for future generations

  • 87pct believe buying a house will be impossible for future generations
  • Two thirds of those not in the housing market worry they will never afford to buy
  • 36pct not in the housing market are very concerned they will never afford to buy a home
Rate rises

  • 48.1pct would be in some financial difficulty if rates rise two percentage points
Home values

45.4pct would be willing to see their home values stop increasing to help improve affordability

OTHER NEWS: Education front and centre of Budget 2017

4 min read
Published 7 May 2017 at 11:36am
Source: AAP