Aussies Delay Buying And Other Big Moves

By Terry Ryder – Australia’s Leading Independent Property Researcher

Australians are leaving major life milestones, including buying a home, until later in life. Since the early 1980s the median age of first-home purchase has climbed from 24 years to 33 years.

Analysis by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research shows a host of other major life events are being deferred.

Between 1966 and 2016 the median age of getting a first full-time job rose by nine years to 25; finishing education has been delayed by five years to 22; having a child has been delayed by seven years to 31; and getting married is now taking place eight years later, also at 31.

And this trend extends well into later life. The median age of paying off a mortgage was 52 years in 1966 but has now climbed to 62 years.

Retirement is also coming later. The median age at which workers leave the labour force has increased by three years since the mid-1960s to age 64 and is expected to rise further.

There’s another fundamental demographic driver at play: our growing longevity. The median age of death grew by 12 years between 1966 and 2016, from 70 years to 82 years.

Australia’s “healthy life expectancy” (an indicator of years of life expected to be in good health) has also been on the rise.

The CEPAR researchers point out that longer life spans are associated with delayed milestones throughout the life cycle including longer adolescence, later ages of leaving studies, starting work, becoming a parent or buying a house.