Home Ownership Still Elusive For Renters

Despite some signs of cooling in the national housing market, more than half of Australia’s renters (52 per cent) feel they will never be able to afford their own home, new research from leading insurer AAMI shows.
April 20, 2008 - PRLog -- “The great Australian home ownership dream remains elusive for many of the nation’s renters, despite auction clearance rates falling and suggestions that interest rates may have peaked,” AAMI Public Affairs manager Geoff Hughes said. i

“Australian renters are still reluctant to enter the housing market, with around four in 10 nationally (39 per cent) saying they are happy to rent and have no plans to have a mortgage.”

The research showed that one-third of Australians (33 per cent) rent their home compared to 67 per cent who have a mortgage or own their home outright.
Despite the apparent satisfaction among many Australians about renting versus owning their home, many still feel pressured to get into the housing market.

“While some people are happy renting, around four in 10 Australian renters (37 per cent) still feel pressured to put a deposit on a home, while one-third (29 per cent) say they have been financially disadvantaged because they rent and do not own their own home,” he said.

My Hughes said interest rates remained a major impediment to Australians entering the housing market with almost half of renters nationally (43 per cent) saying rising interest rates had influenced their decision to continue renting.

“With renters reluctant to enter the property market, competition for rental properties remains tight, with the research showing 15 per cent of renters nationally have been involved in bidding for a rental property,” he said.

“And to make matters worse for renters, four in 10 (40 per cent) say they have been treated badly by real estate agents.”

Renters more likely to be underinsured
As rents across the country rise in line with interest rates, it is not surprising that many tenants opt to sacrifice their home contents insurance to be able to make their rent.

“Renters are increasingly looking for ways to save money to afford higher rents, which is forcing many to cut discretionary spending on insurance,” Mr Hughes said.

“Just over half of all renters (57 per cent) have home contents insurance, compared with almost all Australian homeowners (98 per cent), and less than half of renters (47 per cent) have bothered to update their contents insurance in the last five years.”
He said one-third of renters (35 per cent) did not think their insurance would cover the full replacement of their belongings in the event of a burglary or fire.

i Based on a telephone and internet survey of 2501 Australians independently conducted by Sweeney Research in every Australian State and Territory.

Renters living dangerously
AAMI’s research also shows that renters were more likely to put their home contents at risk by not taking steps to sufficiently secure their belongings.

“Despite renters being more apprehensive than homeowners about leaving their home unattended while on holidays (40 per cent vs. 35 per cent), they are still likely to engage in behaviours that put their belongings and valuable at greater risk,” Mr Hughes said.

“One-third of renters nationally (34 per cent) will knowingly leave their front or back door unlocked when they know they shouldn’t, and one in six (17 per cent) leaves a spare key under a door mat or in a pot plant.

“Burglars and thieves are particularly savvy about getting into a locked home, so to leave a spare house key somewhere as obvious as under the door mat or pot plant is tantamount to leaving the door wide open,” Mr Hughes said.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Geoff Hughes, AAMI Public Affairs Manager, 03 85201469 or 0413 483 591 or Brian O’Neil, Public Relations Exchange, ph 03 9607 4500 or 0411 055 284

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AAMI is a leading car, home, compulsory third party (CTP) and small business insurer. We deal directly with our customers and we use innovative business and marketing strategies to provide them with high quality products and excellent customer service.

Established in 1970, AAMI today has more than 2.5 million policyholders and millions of incoming telephone calls annually.

Website: www.aami.com.au
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