Housing expectations for Australia in 2020

The future is a funny thing.  In my experience, we often spend a great deal of time talking about what our lives will be like in the years to come and then suddenly we’re living it.  It can be incredibly hard to imagine ‘the future’ and as such many of the ideas we have about what it might be like are simply extensions of our day to day lives in the present. 

Two researchers, Rebecca Huntley of Ipsos and Bernard Salt of KPMG, recently set out to determine what Australia might look like in the future, a horizon which they set at ten years, or the end of the 2010s. 

Their report, Future Focus, (which you can read at http://www.kpmg.com/AU/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/Future-Focus-Australia-2020-October-2010.pdf) is one of the first studies aimed at investigating the attitudes of Australians regarding the future direction of our country.  In quite an innovative approach, the study involved the development of two distinct scenarios of what Australia might be like in 2020 – both different but credible versions of the future. 

These scenarios were read out to consumer groups and business leaders, with the responses documented.  The report covers their thoughts regarding a wide variety of topics including population growth, immigration, infrastructure and foreign trade and markets.

Not surprisingly, given the industry in which I work, what I thought to be most interesting in the report were the attitudes toward housing in the future. 

Housing affordability was found to be a significant concern of consumers when considering the state of Australia in 2020.  Both consumer groups and business leaders were hesitant to believe that property prices would ever drop dramatically, with consumers worrying about the ability of future generations to afford housing. 

My response? It is almost a blessing to have an understanding of what our fears may be in ten years time regarding housing affordability as it means that we can actively try to improve the situation now and over the coming years. 

The fact that Australia is currently experiencing a housing shortage is no secret and this will continue to drive house prices.  There is a clear onus on governments over the next decade to create initiatives aimed at helping to ease pressures. 

But responsibility falls on home buyers as well.  Importance must be placed on forward planning and prospective purchasers, especially those in the first home-buyer bracket, may find it valuable to revise their spending/saving plan. 

Remember, the first property you purchase doesn’t necessarily have to be your dream home.  It may serve as a way of building equity or as a foot in the door to the property market. 

Although buying property may require further planning over the next decade as prices rise, I really do think that strategic (and forward) thinking is the way to ensure entry to the housing market. 

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 01/11/2010 at 3:23 PM | Categories: State of the Market -

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