Housing for every stage of life

What we desire in housing changes throughout our lives.

In our early 20s we might pride ourselves on the small but convenient apartment that we rent.

As we get older, other considerations come into play. Most of us spend much of adulthood upsizing – and then when the kids move out, we start our downsizing.

I’m not old enough to be eyeing off over 50s accommodation, but time marches on us all.

Our housing should reflect where we are on our life’s journey – and our industry is great at developing options for every stage of life.

Australians have more housing options before them than ever before because we understand the journey of every generation, from housing that is affordable to retirement living.

However, one of the failures of modern public policy is that it is becoming more difficult for many Australians to change their housing as their lives change. A big reason is transaction costs.

The transaction costs of moving to a new home are dead-weight costs that none of us enjoy paying. In Sydney the typical costs of moving house are now close to $74,000 and in Melbourne it is $64,000 when you include stamp duty, conveyancing fees, real estate commissions and moving costs.

Our research indicates that the typical length of holding a property should be eight years – but because of escalating stamp duty costs it is now 13 years.

This means there are too many families squeezing into small apartments and too many large family homes that are almost deserted because the kids have grown up and moved out.

By making our existing housing stock more efficient we can provide a new source of housing supply. The question before our state governments is – are they serious enough about housing affordability to turn off the stamp duty ‘rivers of gold’ which they increasingly rely on?