As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. Last week our Principal, Mark McCrindle and Team Leader of Communications, Ashley McKenzie were featured in the media about Generation Y and their ability to access the housing market in Sydney.
Generation Y are today’s 22 – 36 year olds, and make up 22% of the Australian population (5.22 million). They also make up the largest cohort in the current workforce (34%). Gen Y’s are comprised of today’s parents, senior leaders, influencers, and increasingly wealth accumulators. With 1 in 3 being university educated (compared to 1 in 5 Baby Boomers), they have grown up in shifting times and are digital in nature, global in outlook and are living in accelerated demographic times.
While Generation Y are often accused of living a lavish lifestyle, which supposedly locks them out of the property market, it is important to remember that traditional expense categories such as food, transport, health and housing costs are higher for younger people today than that experienced by their parents at the same age. A generation ago the average house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is 13 times the average annual full-time earnings.
Here is a quick snapshot of last week’s media coverage:
Housing Affordability Debate
"From the Baby Boomer perspective, they worked hard, they earned what they had but I can also see the Gen Y perspective. The reality is that it's a lot harder to buy a home, the costs have gone up. Gen Y do have to pay off the debt of their degree and there are new categories of spend; technology, internet and phone, costs that their parents didn’t have."
Parental help becoming essential for young people trying to buy property
"Ms McKenzie, who works for social researcher Mark McCrindle, said borrowing from parents was becoming Sydney’s “new normal”.
“Baby Boomers control about 50 per cent of the nation’s wealth so it makes sense young people look to their parents for help,” she said."
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The event was an opportunity to showcase the Urban Living Index and how it can be best utilised as Sydney continues to grow and increase in densification.
The Urban Living Index
Earlier this year we had the opportunity to develop The Urban Living Index, which is going to be used as an ongoing measure for the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. This instrument considers the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of an area to determine how liveable it is. The challenge for Sydney’s future is to ensure that it responds to population growth yet maintains its world-beating lifestyle and that its liveability rises to match its increasing density. While a city can always improve, the results of the Index show that the city planning and unit development are creating thriving urban communities, as evidenced by the results that show superior liveability in high density Sydney suburbs.
Gateway uncovers the state of Australians’ financial literacy, with only 39% of mortgage holders definitely understanding the concept of a ‘split’ home loan.
It was excellent to work with Gateway Credit Union, one of Australia’s leading Credit Unions committed to educating consumers on financial literacy. Our joint study has revealed some interesting figures around the financial literacy of Australians.
Despite the majority of mortgages spanning a 30 year period, the research highlights that your everyday mortgage holder does not truly understand a number of the features and loan facilities that are available to them.
“When buying a home, Australians get into the biggest debt of their life to make the biggest purchase of their life. This research shows more than a third of mortgage holders do not understand basic mortgage terms such as split home loans, redraw facilities and offset accounts. While every mortgage advertisement will display a comparison rate, only 1 in 3 mortgage holders know what this is. It is encouraging to see that the understanding of the new generation of home buyers, Generation Y, was greater than that of the older generation, highlighting an increase in financial literacy amongst the emerging generation.” Mark McCrindle.
The study revealed that the financial terms least understood by mortgage holders are a ‘split’ home loan and the difference between ‘interest rate’ and ‘comparison rate’. Only 39% of those surveyed confirmed that they definitely understood what a ‘split’ home loan was. Similarly, only 35% of mortgage holders definitely understand the difference between ‘interest rate’ and a ‘comparison rate’.
This infographic focuses on the most commonly misunderstood banking terms, and also provides consumers with easy to understand explanations of each of these features.
Sydney is changing. It is growing, densifying and expanding. This McCrindle Research study surveyed 1,007 Sydneysiders in August of 2015 on their attitudes and sentiments towards the future of Sydney with regards to current population size and growth, infrastructure, planning, the house price boom and challenges moving forward.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and home to more than 1 in 5 Australians. More people live in Sydney than in the whole country of New Zealand, and its population is larger than the whole of Australia was a century ago. In addition to being Australia’s largest city, it is also the most culturally diverse with 2 in 5 Sydneysiders born overseas. While European settlement of Australia began in Sydney, the city now has connections closer to the region with 6 of the top 10 countries of birth of Sydneysiders born overseas being located in Asia.
63% of the current New South Wales population is living in Sydney, compared to 48% of Queensland’s population that lives in Brisbane. Western Sydney is growing faster than the rest of
Sydney currently, and the total population of the areas that comprise greater western Sydney (2.3 million) is larger than the nations of Fiji, Luxemburg, Iceland, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Greenland, Lichtenstein and Nauru combined! By 2030, the population of Greater Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney, at almost 3 million.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and was the first to hit 2 million, which it reached in 1959, followed by Melbourne in 1975, Brisbane in 2008 and Perth in 2014.
Based on current growth trends, Sydney will reach a population of 8 million in 2055, the same year that Australia’s 5th largest city Adelaide reaches a population of 2 million. In fact Sydney adds 1,400 people every 6 days which is more than the entire state of Tasmania adds in a year.
While Sydney will hit the 5 million milestone in the next year and 8 million in 2025, more than a third of Sydneysiders (37%) currently think that Sydney’s population is 3 million or less. Only one third of
Sydneysiders (35%) correctly identify Sydney’s population as being close to 5 million.
More than 4 in 5 Sydneysiders believe that the public transport, roads, hospitals and infrastructure is not keeping up with the population growth, with almost half (47%) saying it is nowhere near keeping up. Just 1 in 5 (18%) say that the infrastructure development is keeping up with the population growth.
Sydney’s House Price Boom
While Sydneysiders experience higher wages than the Australian average, the wage growth has not been keeping up with the house price growth. Four decades ago the average Sydney house price was 5 times the average annual full time earnings. Two decades later, house prices had outstripped earnings to be 6 times annual wages. Such has been the house price boom that today the average Sydney house price is more than 13 times the average annual full time earnings of $77,000.
Sydneysiders don’t believe the current house price growth is being driven by first home buyers or owner occupiers, but rather by investors. 2 in 5 (41%) Sydneysiders say that Australian property investors are driving the current house price boom, while 81% say that it is overseas property investors that are key to the price increases.
Clearly Sydney is an expensive place to live, and when Sydneysiders were asked what the greatest challenges of Sydney are, the top 2 responses were the cost of living (73%) and the cost of housing (59%). The third biggest challenge is the traffic and commute times (52%) followed by job / employment challenges (29%) and the pace and stress of life (29%).
These challenges for Sydneysiders are such that more than two thirds of local residents (66%) have considered moving out Sydney, with a quarter of all Sydneysiders (23%) saying they have seriously considered it.
The latest demographic data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics quantifies this by showing that Melbourne is now Australia’s fastest growing city, exceeding Sydney’s growth by more than 10,000 people per annum, and while Victoria and Queensland have consistently been experiencing net interstate migration gains for the last decades, New South Wales has over the same period been losing more people to other states than it has been gaining from other states.
Of the Eastern States, Victoria had a net interstate gain of 9,336 last year, Queensland’s gain was 5,598, while New South Wales over the same period had a net loss of 5,572.
From Sea Change and Tree Change to City Change
When Sydneysiders are considering exiting Sydney, a quarter of them are looking at a sea change or tree change within New South Wales, with another 1 in 20 (5%) considering moving to a rural or regional area interstate. However, more than half of all the would-be leavers (53%) are happy with city living, just not the Sydney life and are looking for another city interstate (32%) or in New South Wales (21%).
Sydney residents are not convinced about the direction in which their lifestyle is headed. Less than 1 in 5 (16%) say that Sydney is better than it was 5 years ago and will be even better in 5 years’ time. Overall, Sydney residents are pessimistic about the current realities and future forecasts. Almost two thirds (64%) say that Sydney is worse than it as 5 year ago, with an even larger percentage (66%) believing that it will be worse in 5 years’ time. In fact half of all Sydneysiders (50%) say that Sydney is worse than 5 years ago and will be even worse in 5 years’ time.
RESEARCH IN THE MEDIA
Watch Mark McCrindle on Channel 7 News speak about the research:
Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.
Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.
And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.
NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.
Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.
The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical
The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta
The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?
The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool
The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader
Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?
A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.
Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.
A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.
Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?
A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!
Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?
A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.
Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?
A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.
Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?
A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).
Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?
A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.
Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?
A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.
Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)
A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.
Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?
A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.
The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.
A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.
THE LIFESTYLE COSTS OF WORK
95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.
YOUNGER MALES BUY LUNCH MOST
Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.
ALMOST $900 ON LUNCHES PER YEAR
The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.
THE COST OF FASHION
In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.
GETTING TO WORK: THE RISING COST OF CARS
After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.
UPSKILLING, RETRAINING AND KNOWLEDGE-GAINING
30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.
THE CHILDCARE COST CHALLENGE
The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.
A TAXING PROBLEM
The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.
FOR MANY, IT IS MORE THAN HALF
The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.
As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.
Here are some the most recent media pieces our research and team have been cited in:
“McCrindle – whose business is analysing generational trends and forecasts – says generation Z is characterised by five key terms. They are global," through the possibilities of technology, and through pop culture -–movies, music, brands and language changes make their way around the world more quickly and thoroughly than ever before. They are "digital," thanks to the devices through which they live their lives. This generation is distinctly "social" because it gets a great deal of information not from experts but from peers, largely through social media. They are highly "mobile" in the fluidity of their work and housing. And they are uniquely "visual: in terms of how they process their information: YouTube is their search engine of choice, because "they don't want to read an article about something, they want to watch a video about something."
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said moving to regional areas was now a viable option for buyers who had been priced out to Sydney’s fringes.
“For that extra bit of distance of living in a region, particularly if they can get a job there, someone would cut down on the commute time into the CBD or into Sydney from where they are in the outer ring suburbs,” Mr McCrindle said.
He added that an influx of new developments and infrastructure being built in regional areas was making them more attractive and had contributed to a change in attitude from Sydneysiders, who are now more open to ’going bush’.
According to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, 22 per cent of Australian men and 29 per cent of women aged 20 to 29 have at least one tattoo.
In a 2013 survey conducted by Sydney-based McCrindle Research, a third of people with tattoos regretted them to some extent, and 14 per cent had looked into or started the removal process. Laser removal has become cheaper and more readily available, but there are serious safety concerns around cheap lasers, poorly-trained operators and the risk of serious burns and scars to clients.
From a societal point of view, what worries me is what demographer and social commentator Mark McCrindle refers to as the "safety net syndrome" – the perception held that someone, whether it's the government or medical science, will solve the problems that have arisen because of a person's own choices. When it comes to fertility, that's simply not possible.
There are, however, promising signs that the pendulum is starting to swing back. McCrindle's research indicates that Generation Z is rejecting the "have it all" attitude of the previous generation and is recognising the limitations of science when it comes to fertility.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said there was a clear trend of Australians moving away from bigger properties and looking at smaller homes.
“Certainly Australians are responding to smaller properties because the trend has been towards unit and apartment living anyway,” Mr McCrindle said.
“People buying homes have already lived in medium-density housing. A century ago, there were 4.5 people per household in Australia. Now it’s down to 2.6 people per household and the Australian Bureau of Statistics forecasts a drop to 2.5 in the next two decades.”
Mr McCrindle said smaller homes tended to be located in the inner city, where there was an urban environment and a cafe lifestyle.
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What is the ‘triple decker sandwich’ Baby Boomers are facing and what are the solutions?
Social and demographic changes, including the rising cost of living and house prices has led to changes in family configurations and living arrangements. The children of Baby Boomers, Generation Y, have significantly delayed the life marker of marriage, with the median age of first marriage now at 29.9 for a male and 28.3 for a female, as well as childbirth, with the median age of parents now 33 for a male and 30.8 for a female.
They are also delaying other lifemarkers of leaving home, starting their career and obtaining a mortgage more than ever before, and for the first time an entire generation of parents are entering their 60s while still providing financial and personal support to their children. Whilst the “couple with kids” household remains the most common household type in Australia, making up a third of Australia’s 9.1 million households, household structures are changing with a noticeable rise of the multi-generational household.
Generation Y have also been labelled the Boomerang Kids, as once they leave their family home, they often boomeranging back again, sometimes with a few kids in tow. Many Baby Boomers are not therefore downsizing the family home, but creating space for their adult children and grandchildren to live under the one roof. This type of arrangement is a significant financial advantage for Gen Y KIPPERS (Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) who may be saving $15,000 per year on rent alone by living with their parents. For mum and dad, however, retirement plans are delayed and retirement savings significantly decrease.
In addition to this, many of today’s Baby Boomers have an additional caring role of supporting their ageing parents, ‘sandwiching’ them between their adult children (and grandchildren) as well as their parents’ generation who are living longer – which is why they have been labeled the triple decker sandwich generation.
Multigenerational households can provide great support networks for raising the next generations, but so that the pressure doesn’t fall unequally on the shoulders of one generation, have a plan to share the load of household jobs and responsibilities.
Plan ahead for aged care options so the best care can be provided at each stage.
Separate living spaces in the one house can provide opportunity for each generation to have their independence and space whilst still having shared time together.
Australia is currently the fastest growing developed nation on the planet and by the end of this year we will hit 24 million – twice as many people we had in 1968. For the last decade numerically we’ve had the most growth we’ve ever had and in the next 5 years we will add nearly 2 million people to our population as well as nearly a million households. We’re currently adding a new Adelaide to our population every 3 years! (more than a million people; 355,000 each year).
79% of our country’s population growth is happening across our capital cities. By next year Sydney will win the race to 5 million people, but Melbourne is currently the hotspot of all the capitals with the largest population growth, increasing by 95,700 people each year. Sitting at 4.4 million, Melbourne isn’t far behind Sydney and is on track to overtake Sydney as Australia’s largest city by 2056, when both cities will be home to more than 8 million people.
Yet the fastest growing capital is still Perth, growing at 2.5%, ahead of Darwin and Melbourne at 2.2%.
MIGRATION A POPULATION GROWTH CONTRIBUTER
58% of Australia’s growth comes from net overseas migration, which equates to 240,000 per year, and the remainder from natural increase. Nearly two fifths (38%) of all post 1950 immigrants have arrived since the year 2000, and three fifths (63%) of our migrants come on skilled visas – so there’s a steady stream of highly skilled and hard-working individuals looking to establish their families in Australia.
Victoria leads in terms of interstate migration, while Queensland’s population growth has slowed to its lowest rate in 15 years as has Western Australia – both states due to low net overseas migration over the last year.
THE IMPACTS OF A GROWING AUSTRALIA
With population growth comes increasing diversity, a rich lifestyle, greater entertainment options but also rising house prices, the wait for public services, and of course traffic congestion.
Our households will also look different - by 2020, for the first time in our history the couple only household will be more common than the couple with kids household. The solo person household will move from 23% to 27% by 2020 and will be fast closing in on traditional couple and couple with kids households.
The increase of 175,000 households to our population each year is set to continue over the next 5 years, and we’ll continue to see an increase in the demand for housing across our capital cities, particularly high density housing to accommodate smaller households.
The increase in housing density will mean that the vast expanse of the Australian outback will remain virtually as it is but the major cities will continue to expand, particularly upwards, with more people living in apartments than ever before.
Australia will become even bigger, denser, and more multicultural over the next 5 years. Some ‘Aussie Dreams’ may start to disappear such as the ‘quarter acre block’ and along with it the Hills Hoist garden shed and enough space for a game of backyard cricket. But no doubt new ‘Aussie Dreams’ will come to replace them – it is the Lucky Country after all!