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Interest rates and housing costs growing pain for young people

CHOICE survey finds 77% of Gen Ys worried about the cost of housing.

21 August 2017

CHOICE's latest Consumer Pulse report has found that concern about housing costs is growing, particularly for renters and young Australians.

"While energy prices (82%) remain the number one worry for Australians, the cost of renting or paying off a mortgage has jumped from 71% to 77% for young people," says CHOICE head of media Tom Godfrey. 

"This housing concern isn't just about paying off a mortgage. Renters are also feeling the squeeze with 74% saying they're worried about the cost of housing."

The survey found more than 8 out of ten (86%) Australians report that household bills and expenses have risen over the last 12 months. 38% say they've increased a lot with the top cost of living concerns after electricity involving health or medical expenses, food and groceries and fuel.

The national survey found renters are more likely to show signs of financial stress than people who are paying a mortgage or own their home outright.

9% of renters had to deliberately miss a rent payment, 28% have had to borrow money from friends or family and 19% have had to live off a credit card until payday.

The survey's latest consecutive quarter since 2014 found concern about housing costs, interest rates and superannuation continues to rise.

"Despite a record-low cash rate set by the Reserve Bank, 56% of Australians are worried about interest rates. This indicates that people are watching rate movements very closely and know that they will face tough times if rates go up," says Mr Godfrey.

Concern about interest rates is heightened in states with booming housing markets: 60% of Victorians are worried about interest rates, 57% of people in NSW and WA, 51% in QLD and 54% in other states. Young people are most worried about interest rates (63% of Gen Ys).

Media contact:

Tom Godfrey, CHOICE Head of Media: 0430 172 669

Other key findings:

  • Australians are worried about their level of savings (62%) and the value of their superannuation (58%)
  • 39% of renters are finding it difficult to get by on their household income compared to 25% of mortgage holders and 21% of people who own their home outright
  • 63% of Gen X are worried housing costs, with Baby Boomers at 48%

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Note to editors:

CHOICE Consumer Pulse June 2017 is based on a survey of 1,042 Australian households. Quotas were applied for representations in each age group as well as genders and location to ensure coverage in each state and territory across metropolitan and regional areas. Fieldwork was conducted from the 8th to 20th of June, 2017. The data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the 2011 ABS Census data. The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork for Wave 13 was provided by The ORU. The ORU are ISO 20252 and 26362 accredited and are full AMSRO members.