• 06 Dec 2023
As savings fall home ownership remains the pathway to happiness, data reveals

At a time when the household saving to income ratio declined to its the lowest level in 16 years, new data has revealed that home ownership remains the biggest source of personal happiness.

In the pursuit of happiness, there’s a special kind that comes from owning your own Aussie home.

Recent research from Great Southern Bank has revealed that homeowners are happier than renters. There’s a unique sense of fulfilment that accompanies having a place to call your own, and it extends beyond mere bricks and mortar.

The Aussie dream: more than a roof over your head

According to the No Place Like Home report, 70 per cent per cent of respondents agreed that owning a home is an important factor in their happiness.

Despite interest rates increasing and global issues of concern, the report’s research still shows optimism among Australians wanting to purchase a home.

Half plan to buy a home to live in within the next three years. Half of renters are also hopeful of buying a home to live in within the next three years too.

What the research shows is there is still growing aspiration to own a home, with it not just being homebuyers that are looking. Forty-two per cent of existing homeowners are thinking of buying their next home – either upsizing, downsizing or making a lifestyle change.

Embarking on the journey to home ownership is more than a transaction – it’s a voyage toward a happier, more fulfilling life – and the research proves it.

Owning a home is not just about having a roof over your head. It’s about embracing a lifestyle that reflects the warmth of the Australian spirit. Here’s what makes homeownership Down Under a key to happiness:

Stability and Security
A home is a sanctuary, a place where you feel secure, and your roots are firmly planted. It’s a stable haven in a world that’s constantly changing.

Community Connection
Aussie neighbourhoods foster a strong sense of community. From barbecues in the backyard to conversations over the fence, owning a home brings you closer to a network of friends and neighbours.

Investment in the Future
Beyond immediate joy, homeownership is an investment in your future. It’s a cornerstone for building wealth, providing a sense of financial security for years to come.

Personalisation and Pride
Your home is a canvas for self-expression. The ability to personalise and transform your space brings a deep sense of pride and accomplishment.

Freedom to Flourish
With a home of your own, you have the freedom to create the life you desire. Whether it’s raising a family, starting a new chapter, or enjoying your golden years, home ownership paves the way for your unique journey.

More than just bricks and mortar

The report found most people (81 per cent) consider their home their ‘happy place’, and almost three quarters (72 per cent) believe home is wherever their family or loved ones are.

Just over half say having a home is about having a place to celebrate their culture and traditions.

Home ownership is a journey that can be difficult.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data released Wednesday (6 December), showed the household saving to income ratio declined from 2.8 to 1.1, the lowest level since December 2007.

Household saving declined due to a strong rise in income payable (+6.3 per cent), which experienced its highest growth through the year (+27.9 per cent) since September quarter 1977. Income taxes drove the rise, in the absence of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, which ceased over 2022-23.

Inflationary pressure led to increased nominal household consumption (+1.4%), as consumers faced higher prices for goods and services, further contributing to the decline in household saving.

“Gen Z and millennials tell us that saving a deposit is the key barrier to taking that first step towards buying a home,” Megan Keleher, Chief Customer Officer, Great Southern Bank, said.

“It’s clear, however, that Australian home owners do become happier over time, as they build the equity in their home.”

Happiness is at its highest for mortgage-free home owners and Baby Boomers, with 57 per cent in each group saying they are happy with their current housing situation, compared to just 29 per cent of long-term renters.

The report found that 51 per cent of renters are feeling heavily burdened by their financial commitments – significantly higher than 36 per cent of home owners.

Many are being forced into share house situations they’d prefer to avoid.

Long-term renters are also more concerned about the cost of living (84 per cent) and housing affordability (80 per cent) compared to those who have purchased their own home (73 per cent and 62 per cent).

“Every individual’s home ownership journey and personal experience is different, but the report highlights that owning your own home does bring increased happiness for the vast majority of Australians,” Ms Keleher said.

Getting those keys  

Navigating the path to home ownership may seem daunting, but with the right guide, it becomes a joyous adventure.

Award-winning mortgage broker Helen Avis, Director of Finance, Specialist Mortgage, said finding a team that can help with the pathway to home ownership was a fundamental part of the process.

New home in suburban Australia.

Home ownership may appear a distant dream but there are finance experts who can help make it achievable.

Tailored financial solutions – Every home owner’s journey is unique. We work closely with you to understand your goals and customise financial solutions that align with your aspirations.

Exploring the mortgage terrain – The world of mortgages can be complex. We simplify the process, providing clarity on terms, interest rates, and the various options available to you.

Maximising your buying power – We leverage the team’s expertise to ensure you get the most out of your investment. From finding the right loan to securing favourable terms, we are committed to maximising your buying power.

Ongoing support – Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to expand your property portfolio, we provide ongoing support to ensure your financial goals are met.

Article Q&A

How do you get to buy your first home?

According to the No Place Like Home report, 70 per cent per cent of respondents agreed that owning a home is an important factor in their happiness. The path to that ownership is difficult but mortgage professionals can implement strategies to make it achievable.

Are household savings in decline or rising?

Household saving declined due to a strong rise in income payable (+6.3 per cent), which experienced its highest growth through the year (+27.9 per cent) since September quarter 1977. Income taxes drove the rise, in the absence of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset, which ceased over 2022-23.