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Beyond the Great Australian Dream

For decades, Australians have held home ownership to be the mark of status and success in life. However, this ignores the more basic and fundamental role of owning our own home, including physical shelter; physical and psychological wellbeing; and a source of wealth that can facilitate financial security. With home ownership on the decline, what are the implications for older Australians in the future?

“So much of the rhetoric that is out there is premised on the fact that people own their own homes and yet data is showing that over the last three to four census periods that’s happening much less. People are not retiring owning their own homes, whereas previously they did.”

Dr Victoria Cornell*

Home ownership on decline

Recent census data reveals that home ownership is declining – particularly amongst those under 55 years of age. Assuming that everyone in Australia in the future will own their home in their 50s and beyond ignores current data trends. According to the Grattan Institute there’s a possibility that future Australians will be ‘permanent renters’. In fact, this Grattan Report suggests:

“It’s been a perfect storm of rising incomes and falling interest rates, rapid migration, tax and welfare settings feeding demand, and planning rules restricting supply.”

Furthermore, homelessness is increasing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 116,427 people who are homeless. 18,625 of these people are over 55 years old, a 28% increase for this age category since the 2011 census. Of this older cohort, most notable is the increase in older women experiencing homelessness – there was an 83% increase in the number of women over 55 homeless and couch-surfing between 2011 and 2016 alone.

Housing and longer lives

Homelessness and reduced home ownership have significant implications in the future as we become older and our lifespans increase. What happens if we don’t own our home in our 70s, 80s and 90s? Where will we live? Who with? How do we build homes and create communities today to accommodate the changing home ownership trend? Moreover, how can we build homes that see people through multiple life stages? Finally, how can we make age friendly everyone’s business?

Implications for housing older Australians

Previously we’ve written about the steps for housing innovation. This process is one that governments, savvy designers, builders, developers, urban planners, and architects would all benefit from incorporating into housing developments and designs. However, when it comes to housing solutions for providing affordable housing for the elderly to reduce homelessness and accommodate declining home ownership it requires a radical rethink in both government policy and private sector approaches. Developments like Mirvac’s build-to-rent club in Sydney Olympic Park and the Communities Plus housing site in Redfern are just the start.

The future of housing

Three Sisters Group interviewed experts in the fields of housing and urban design. For a quick summary of their insights on our housing future have a look at this short video.

Will you own your own home when you’re in your 60s, 70s or beyond? Perhaps you know someone who will face the challenge of being a permanent tenant.

If you’d like to further understand the implications of housing in the context of our burgeoning ageing population for your business or community, call us on 0422 002 202.

 

*Dr Victoria Cornell is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide and Convenor, Housing and Built Environment Special Interest Group, AAG.

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

The over 50’s infographic to inspire inclusive business strategies

Are you looking for new growth and differentiation for your business? Are you looking for a low-risk and high reward customer to achieve that growth and differentiation? Look no further than the over 50’s market and our infographic below. Healthier, wealthier and more active online and offline than at any other time in history, the over 50’s are the chief drivers of Australia’s ‘longevity economy’.

Why are older Aussies ignored?

We are all living longer than at any other time in history. In the future, average lifespans will extend to our 90’s and beyond. And the proportion of centenarians will continue to increase. This is a future in which generational labels will no longer have a place; and older Aussies will become an integrated and integral part of the total population. However, few Australian companies have recognised the opportunity of the over 50’s – not only as a market but also as a productive workforce asset.

Why?

Because of the deeply entrenched stereotypes, assumptions and beliefs Aussies have about older Aussies. As a society, we generally consider older people as one homogenous group. This is reinforced by messages from the media, painting older people as a ‘grey tsunami’ – a group of people that will put pressure on our already overburdened pension, welfare and health systems. Consequently, this is rarely considered an attractive market.

However, as you will see in our infographic below, these ageist perceptions we have of older people are unfounded and outdated. They simply don’t belong in a world where people are routinely living to 80, 90 and beyond.

How do organisations innovate for the over 50’s?

Businesses need to start with understanding their older customers and employees to access the opportunities they represent. Our infographic below is a good place to begin. If all Aussies, younger and older, are to benefit from the gift of longer lives, businesses must start thinking about how to:

  1. Create more inclusive marketing campaigns;
  2. Iterate and innovate products and services that meet the needs and wants of the older demographic.
  3. Design inclusive HR policies and practices that harness and leverage the asset of older workers.

The key to success is evolution not revolution. An inclusive, integrated strategy that embraces the older customer and employee will remain relevant long into Australia’s much older future.  Take a look at our infographic for inspiration and insights on the longevity economy. 

Infographic: Mythbusting the over 50’s

If you’d like to better understand the over 50’s, the longevity economy and how your business can benefit from harnessing this burgeoning market, contact Three Sisters Group today to set up your complimentary one hour discussion.

 

Infographic sources:

 

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash