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Tags: First Home BuyersMarket Update | 27.04.11

House or Kids: Has it Really Come to This?

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes... the choice of starting a family or purchasing a home? With the housing market in crisis over the past several years, and no real positive change in site, many couples are faced with the decision of waiting to start a family until they can afford to purchase a home in an area they desire.

In a recent survey by PDRnationwide, more then 50 per cent of Australians said they would not delay having children because of the housing market, but a shocking 31 per cent said they would. It is a sad state of affairs when couples have to choose not starting a family because they can not afford a house.

Positives in the Housing Market

The housing market in Australia has been less affected by the global financial crisis then one might think. While banks have tightened up home loan processes and are more selective with granting loans, there are still affordable home loans from all of the big banks, as well as competitive loans from many of the smaller lenders. First time home grants are also available from the government as an incentive to help those starting out with their first home. The economy in Australia has stayed relatively stable through the global financial crisis, and US housing market crash. There is new development in many of the outlying areas of Australia's major cities and affordable housing options in these areas.

Negatives in the Housing Market

The problem with the Australian housing market is in general lack of supply with ever increasing demand in the major cities. The population of Australia is growing rapidly. With population growth comes the need for more housing. People tend to seek the more desirable city locations as they offer proximity to jobs, entertainment, and resources. Therefore demand for housing in the cities is exceeding availability and driving up prices. It can take a potential home buyer six months or more to find a home within some of Australia's most desirable cities, at a price that is affordable. While there are more affordable housing options in the outlying areas, the locations are not nearly as desirable. This is making home ownership harder and less of an option for many average Australians.

Expenses

The average Australian is now paying about 35 per cent of their income toward mortgage repayment and home loan costs. This means having less money to put in to retirement, life insurance, savings and day to day expenses. Being financially sound is a big consideration when having children. Mark McCrindle, a social researcher in Australia, has estimated that it now costs over one million dollars to raise a child into adulthood. With increasing technology and more “me generation” qualities of everyone having one of their own, the costs of raising children has increased tremendously in recent decades. Knowing how costly it is to raise a child, and knowing that one may need to put 35 per cent of their income toward owning a home, it's no wonder people are considering delaying having children.

The trend in increased housing prices started before the global financial crisis, just on a less noticeable scale. It is shaping trends in Australian households. The nearly one third of those surveyed are considering delaying having children until they can purchase a home, and that is bound to have an impact on long term trends in both the housing market and look of the Australian family.

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