The Top 5 Trends for 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rise of Local

As our cities grow, Australians are adopting approaches we see in other mega cities where a local rather than a citywide identity emerges. Australia’s capitals are becoming cities of villages or regions where residents live, work and interact in a part of their city rather than the traditional commuter approach of suburb living but CBD working. The year ahead will see the rise of the walkable community, the ongoing gathering at the local shopping strip and the growth in local entertainment precincts rather than the city-centre destinations that used to dominate. As unit living increases along with population growth, Australians are looking to meet the timeless human needs of relational health and community connection in their geographical context. From knowing the local barista to supporting the local grocer, increased events in local parks, increased patronage at local clubs and venues and growth in volunteering to support community groups, 2017 will see the rise of local.

Growth of Lifestyle Cities

Last year Sydney hit the population milestone of 5 million and Melbourne is not only growing faster but it is seeing house price increases exceed that of Sydney. The size and associated costs of living in Australia’s global cities is bringing to the fore the benefits of Australia’s lifestyle cities. These are the regional cities that have the employment, shopping and housing options of the big cities but populations not in the millions but the more sustainable hundred thousand or so. In NSW, cities like Newcastle and Wollongong have reinvented themselves from the industrial cities of the 20th Century to be innovation hubs, university towns, and small business friendly 21st Century lifestyle cities. With property prices a third less than Sydney, it is little surprise that these cities are growing at twice the national population growth rate and are seeing recent house price growth exceed that of Sydney. Beyond these cities, regional centres like Wagga Wagga, Bathurst and Albury Wodonga are also growing faster than the national average. In Victoria the lifestyle cities include Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat and are the state’s fastest growing regions while in Queensland the lifestyle cities include the very fast growing Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast as well as the inland city of Toowoomba and in the West the cities of Bunbury and Busselton make the list.

DIY Everything

Australia has always had a strong can-do attitude and a weekend DIY project in a property-obsessed nation is part of the suburban life. However with tips and tutorials just a few clicks away, and a how-to YouTube video on everything, Australians are extending the DIY approach beyond just handyman skills. From DIY legal processes like property conveyancing, to arranging complex holidays once the domain of travel agents, to the increased consulting of “Dr Google”, Australians are doing their own research and planning in an effort to save money and solve their own problems. In an era where there is an app for everything from instrument tuning to wedding invitation designing, Australians feel more empowered through technology, more informed through online resources and more motivated to save money and so 2017 will see the ongoing rise of DIY everything.

The Gig-Economy

In the span of a generation, the proportion of Australians working on a part-time or casual basis has tripled from 1 in 10 to more than 3 in 10 today. However in the last year or so, online services like Uber, Airtasker, Freelancer and Deliveroo have ushered in the “gig-economy” and more of this generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Recent research shows that a third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work, and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps. Technology and new employment options have made it possible, businesses looking to manage their staff costs and liabilities are driving it and Generations Y and Z who value variety, flexibility and opportunity over job security will make the gig economy mainstream in 2017.

Post rationalism

Last year the electorates of the UK and the US showed the political class not to take their votes for granted and that bombarding people with information and expert opinion will not in itself change minds. 2017 will see the continued rise of the post rational era where it is the heart- not just the head that influences customers, staff members and voters. The 2016 Word of the Year was “post-truth” showing that the power to influence is not in the data and statistics but in the story and social validation. Note that this is not an era of “irrationalism” in that society has more knowledge available and Australians are increasingly more formally educated- rather, it is an era where the rationale alone does not alone decide the matter. Those who can communicate with an emotional, visual and relational connection will do better than those who just have a rational connection.

Watch Mark's full interview on The Daily Edition here

Generation Y and Housing Affordability

Monday, October 24, 2016

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." 

For any media enquiries please email us at, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422. To arrange a media interview or if you are a journalist and would like to receive our media updates, please email

A Snapshot of Australia's Housing Market

Monday, August 01, 2016

Owning a home is the great Australian dream, but with 30% of Australians renting, could our love affair with bricks and mortar be turning sour? Our Aussie states go head to head as we compare affordability for buyers and renters.

How many Australians own their home outright and how many have a mortgage?

2 in 5 (40%) Australians are trying to own their own home and slowly pay it off, with the smallest category of all, 28%, being lucky enough to have paid off their home in full.

How do the capital cities compare when it comes to renting an apartment?

As you would expect, Sydney ranks as the most expensive city, costed at about $500 per week for your average apartment. Amazingly, Darwin is up there as well due to more more demand than supply and with not the same investment in stock. Meanwhile, if you move down to Hobart, it is almost half that, paying about $270 per week, and Adelaide not much beyond that at $370.

What if you are looking to buy a home, how much is that?

Sydney is still leading Australia by a long way with almost a $1,000,000 median house price. A distant second is Melbourne, at over $800,000. If you look down to Hobart, the median house price is $357,000, so that means using the money spent on a home in Sydney, you could buy about 3 homes in Hobart – and a pretty good lifestyle down there as well.

Looking at Australia as a whole, what is the percentage of apartments to houses?

About 3 in 4 Australians live in a detached home, so that’s traditionally been the Aussie dream. Then you have about 14% who live in apartments and 10% in townhouses. We are starting to see a change though, with a quarter of Australians now living in medium to high density housing. At the moment if you look at new housing approvals, it's 1 in 3, so it has gone up. If you look at Sydney and Melbourne, 2 in 3 new housing approvals are in medium to high density living. So we are starting to get more densified, with an increase in vertical communities compared to the more traditional horizontal ones, and that’s where we are headed in the future.

Watch Mark's full interview on The Daily Edition here

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