Aussies hold onto homes for longer

The average time of individual house ownership in Australia has risen by 36 per cent over the past decade, according to RP Data.

After hearing from various sources that agents are struggling for listings, Doug Driscoll, CEO of Starr Partners decided to investigate further.

“It’s the one problem the industry is facing now; there seems to be a drought of listings,” he told Real Estate Business.

“There just isn’t much stock available now, and it’s not because there’s more agents servicing the population. In fact, it’s safe to say agent numbers have dropped over the past decade.”

So Mr Driscoll approached RP Data to find the average length of ownership compared to the beginning of the decade. He describes the findings as "staggering".

According to RP Data, the average period of individual house ownership in Australia was 9.3 years in 2012, compared to 6.8 years in 2002.

The rise in home ownership time can be attributed to a number of reasons, according to Mr Driscoll.

“Firstly, not only has the cost of living increased, but the cost of moving has as well, which can deter people who look into upgrading," he explained.

“Also, the popularity of DIY style TV programs have spurred peoples interest in renovating their homes instead of moving on … Council approvals for building extensions are also more readily available.”

Rising numbers of property investors are also pushing the average home ownership time upwards.

“Generally we see investors holding onto properties a lot longer than traditional property buyers. If it’s not generating a profit, people are more willing to let the property go,” Mr Driscoll said. “We’re slowly becoming a nation of renters.”

Real Estate Business' sister title, Residential Property Manager, reported yesterday that high housing prices are causing Australia to become a nation of renters, according to the chairman of MacroPlan Dimasi, Brian Haratsis.

“The common belief is that people move homes every seven years,” said Mr Driscoll. “When I approached RP Data I expected the number to be closer to eight. I was just blown away when I heard that the number was over nine years.”

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