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Long-Run Trends in Victorian Housing Affordability and First Transition into Homeownership

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The recent house price cycle has highlighted concerns about housing affordability. But is the recent deterioration in housing affordability a short-term problem, or is it a continuation of long-term trends? We take advantage of customised data tables from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing to address this question. We focus on the state of Victoria, Australia, by comparing housing affordability and tenure share trends from 1981 to 2001, a period which encompasses two house price booms. Specifically, we look at households by income quintiles and age group in Victoria. We find that housing affordability has deteriorated, particularly for those in the lowest two income quintiles. Most importantly, deterioration is not restricted to one inter-census period. It is a trend that is evident through most inter-census periods from 1981 to 2001. Furthermore, we find that among younger households, those under 35 years of age, the share of home purchasers and outright owners is in long-run decline. The long-run trends in housing affordability pose a serious threat to the homeownership aspirations of younger Victorians.

Keywords: Housing affordability; long-run trends

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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