Do you own your home outright? If you do you are one of the lucky ones.
The great Australian dream of owning your own home outright by the time you retire has been slipping away over the last couple of decades.
Part of the reason is the extraordinary rise in house prices over the past thirty years. The median Sydney house price has been more than $1M, and units $700,000, since 2015. The story of pricey property is much the same across most of the nation.
The number of homeowners over 65 still carrying mortgages has trebled since 2002. Then only 4% of home owners over 65 carried mortgage debt. By 2015 it had grown to 12% and is rising.
So, what is the answer? Could it be downsizing to a ‘tiny home’? If you haven’t caught up with it there is a world-wide ‘tiny home’ movement.
And now it seems the Morrison Government is pushing the idea.
Federal Industry Minister Karen Andrews is a big fan. She says they is a “massive opportunity” to boost the building and construction industry and there are also social benefits. She has even said “It’s quite likely it may well suit me one day.”
A tiny home can cost more than $100,000 at the upper end but as little as $40,000 (with a toilet and shower) at the bottom end. That is without land, of course.
The tiny home could be the 21st Century equivalent to the prefab granny flat in the backyard. They are also designed to be less costly to heat and cool, so can keep power bills down.
The Federal Government announced last Sunday “Up to $2 million will be spent developing a new collaborative lab to help manufacturers design innovative, new prefabricated buildings that are more eco-friendly, affordable and can significantly reduce times for construction.”
Another ‘tiny home’ driver is the growing number of people living alone. One in four Australians lives alone; only 2.6 people per dwelling. It can be argued that the typical Australian house, on average, is too large for our needs.
National Seniors is advocating for better housing options for older Australians. We want the government to encourage downsizing by allowing up to $250,000 from the sale of the family home to be quarantined from affecting the pension.
The tiny home movement could be part of the answer to a range of issues affecting older Australians and the generations that follow - those who struggle to own a home and retire mortgage debt free.
Join our Better Housing campaign to improving housing options for you and other older Australians.
The Better Housing campaign is one way we can make a difference to the lives of older Australians.
Other National Seniors Australia campaigns include:
- Fix Pension Poverty
- Out-of-pocket Health Costs
- Energy Affordability; and
- The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
One issue that has featured prominently in the Royal Commission so far is elder abuse.
Chief Advocate Ian Henschke recently appeared on Northside Radio in Sydney to discuss World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and our approach to tackling the issue.