The news is full of reports about Australia’s property market: When will prices soften? Can young people get into the market? Now there’s a Royal Commission looking at the finance industry and mortgage lending.
But there’s a missing voice amidst the growing cacophony—and it’s that of property investors themselves. An ongoing study, Understanding Finance Culture, which is being conducted by a special research team at the University of Sydney, aims to discover the motivations behind property investment and how it’s transforming Australian society.
Many voices, many motivations
The growing body of research has uncovered key themes amongst property investors. Some people began building a property portfolio when the value of their first property grew, like this woman in her mid-30s from Western Sydney:
“The current property has appreciated, and we checked with the bank and there has been an increase in the price, and so there is an equity line in the bank, and they were saying, ‘Why are you just leaving the equity there? Why not take it out and use it to buy another property? It’s just money lying there. Why don’t you make use of that?’ If you’ve got [untapped] equity, then you’re just wasting money. So we’re keeping our eyes open for a good opportunity.”
Others are convinced that without owning several investment properties, their children will not be able to get ahead. One man with seven investment properties told us:
“I look at my kids, who are six and seven, and I look at their ability to buy a house in the future, generate wealth through a job, and all these other challenges they’re going to have, and the future for them is a lot more bleak, because I don’t have a lot of faith that a normal job will get them any real wealth or luxury in the future. So part of the driver for me is to try and give them that edge a little bit with maybe a property or two that they can have under their belt to help them in the future.”
We also spoke to young people who’re living at home or renting but want to get into the housing market. This 25-year-old Sydney woman told us:
“I think for someone who’s living at home, it does make a lot of sense that if you’re comfortable with your living arrangement to buy an investment property so that you can get rental income from it”.
Others we’ve spoke to have been inspired by ads and stories on social media:
“The thing that inspires me to do that is the posts on Facebook! I keep getting sponsored ads about property, and they’re these – what do you say – coaxing ads, with ‘Do you want to invest in property? This person started with one property in 2010 and now he has a hundred properties. Learn how he did it, masterclass,’ blah, blah, blah. So many things coming up on my Facebook page, and it keeps going on in my mind all the time!”
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