The 2021 Census revealed that Millennials are about to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generational group in Australia.
But they’re also three times less likely to own a home outright than Boomers were at the same age.
This is from new data, courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which has revealed that home ownership for those aged between 25–39 years has decreased over successive generations.
Let’s break down the data.
Home owners decrease by generation
What the ABS data states is that with each successive generation, home ownership has become more and more rare.
In 1991, when Boomers were 25-39, 65.8 per cent of them owned their home outright or with a mortgage.
In 2006, when Gen X were the same age, that number decreased to 62.1 per cent.
And now, with the results of the 2021 census tallied, the amount of Millennials who own their own home has dropped to just 54.6 per cent.
Or to put it another way, Baby Boomers were 11.2 per cent more likely to own their own home when they were the same age as Millennials are today.
House prices up, wages down
In 2021, Millennials were aged 25-39 years. This age cohort is commonly associated with key life transitions such as completing study, establishing relationships, marriage, having children and purchasing a home.
Looking at the different social and economic experiences of generational groups helps us to understand the changes that have occurred in Australian society.
The Reserve Bank Cash Rate in 2021 was significantly lower than in 2006 and 1991, meaning Millennials would generally have had lower interest rate mortgages than the earlier generations, according to the ABS.
However, house prices have skyrocketed in the past 30 years.
In 1991, the median price of a home in Victoria was $115,000, according to the state government.
Adjusted for inflation, that house would still only cost $254,326 in today’s money.
In 2006, the median house price in Victoria was $300,000 — $457,385 in today’s money.
In 2021, the median house price in Victoria was $721,000, and it’s a similar story throughout the country.
While house prices have enjoyed a upward trend over the past three decades, wages have stagnated according to ABS figures.
In 1991, your average full-time Australian worker was taking home $567.70 ($1,143.78 in 2021 money, as per the ABS’ inflation calculator) per week.
In 2006, that same worker was earning $839.50 weekly ($1,166.80 in today’s money)
And in 2021, according to the ABS, the average Aussie full-time worker was bringing in $1,344.70.
So, according to the ABS, Australian’s real weekly wages have increased by a couple hundred dollars while houses have gone up over half a million.
Millennials are more educated than Boomers were at their age
Home ownership wasn’t the only thing out of kilter between the generations.
Over three quarters of Millennials (79 per cent) have a qualification compared with under two thirds of Generation X (64 per cent) and less than half of Baby Boomers (48 per cent).
Higher education qualifications were also more likely for Millennials, with 40 per cent having a bachelor degree or higher, compared with almost 25 per cent of Generation X.
Only 12 per cent of Baby Boomers had a degree at the same age.
But where Boomers trailed at higher education, they excelled at getting married.
More than half (53 per cent) of Millennials have never been married, compared with 26 per cent of Baby Boomers at the same age.
Compared with earlier generations, Millennials marry at an older age. Half of Baby Boomers were married by 27 years of age, compared to 32 years for Generation X and 34 years for Millennials.