How old will you be when you're mortgage-free?

BLAME it on our changing lifestyles, attitudes to money, decreased housing affordability or all three; whatever the reason, it's now taking us longer to reach the point when we own our own home outright.

According to Roy Morgan Research, it's not just taking longer to own our home, many of the key events related to real estate are all happening later in life now than a decade ago.

"Australians are living at home for longer, a significant proportion are now renting well into their 40s, and it is only near retirement that a majority of Australians are finally owning their own home after a lifetime of work," Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said.

When it comes to the first time Australians move out of mum and dad's and into their own home, the research found it's getting much later in life. The numbers show 58% of 18-19 year olds live at home now compared to 54% in 2007; more than a quarter of 22-24 year olds live at home (28%), up from 24% in 2007 and even 16% of 25-29 year olds still live at home in 2017 compared to 12% a decade ago. According to the study, the trend of living at home for longer has directly contributed to other key indicators including living in a shared household, renting, and having a home loan being delayed until later in life.

The peak time to live in a shared household is unchanged from a decade ago and is still between the ages of 22 and 24. But this living arrangement is increasingly popular for older age groups; now 28% of 25-29 year olds live in a shared household, up from 20% in 2007.

As Australians delay moving out - and as a consequence, put off buying a home and getting a home loan - an increasing proportion of older Australians are now renting. While the rate of 25-29 year olds renting (36%) has only increased by 1% in ten years, it's the older age groups where the proportion of renters has significantly increased. A decade ago more Australians aged 30-34 had a home loan than were renting, but the gap is closing. Now 42% of 30-34 year olds are renting, up significantly since 2007 (33%) and 38% of 35-39 year olds are renting, up from 29% in 2007.

The numbers also show more Australians aged 45-49 are renting (23%) than own their own home (18%) although a majority of this age group have a home loan (52%). This is a huge social change from a decade ago when 28% of this age group owned their own home and only 18% were renting.

The next stage - buying a home - is increasingly becoming a milestone set in a person's 40s.

Just under a third of Australians aged 30-34 have a home loan (33%), down from 43% in 2007 and 43% of 35-39 year olds have a home loan, down from 51% in 2007.

The figures for 40-something Australians have barely changed from a decade ago though, with 51% of 40-44 year olds now having a home loan but 52% of 45-49 year olds have a home-loan, up from 50% in 2007.

This trend towards buying later in life naturally means the age at which we're paying off our home loans has also increased.

Today only 12% of 40-44 year olds own their home; back in 2007 this figure was 6% higher; and the umbers get worse the older we get.

Just 18% of 45-49 year olds own their home, compared with 28% in 2007 and it now takes until Australians are aged 60-64 years old - almost at retirement age - for a majority (60%) to own their home.

Ms Levine said there's no one thing to blame for the outcome, despite many pointing the finger at housing affordability.

"The changing shape of Australia is driven by two demographic trends; millennials are staying at school or in education longer and staying at home or in shared accommodation while they do that and Baby Boomers - rather than paying off homes as quickly as possible - are using the equity in their homes to renovate, upgrade, invest or finance whatever other activities they want to engage in. The increasing price of housing relative to incomes, especially among younger Australians, is only part of the story."

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