Micro Apartments: Could this be a tiny solution to a big problem?

Friday, June 02, 2017


Micro-apartments are a new wave of affordable housing that is close to the city, and makes use of every square-centimetre of space.

In Sydney there is more demand for homes than there is supply and that is a key factor of what is driving the house prices up. Could micro apartments be the tiny solution to one, very big problem?

Micro apartment are attracting young people, Generation Y, to moving into the city. But they are also attracting the down-sizing Baby Boomers, who are moving from the 'emty nest' house in the suburbs, downsizing into apartment living.

Social Researcher, Mark McCrindle, says with a rapidly growing population and the housing demand far out-weighing demand, we need to follow in the footsteps of the world’s global cities and embrace a more compact style of living.

The future suburbs will be the vertical communities, not the horizontal ones that we used to know.

Sydney has just hit the 5 million mark and it’s going to add 2 million people in the next 20 years. Melbourne is going to do the same. Each of these cities will add a Perth to their population by 2037.

Watch the full segment on micro apartments here

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award-winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

Visit Mark's website here.

Housing Affordability in NSW [infographic]

Monday, January 30, 2017

We’ve all heard about the difficulty of buying into the housing market in recent times and the subsequent decreases in home ownership rates (in NSW, from 68% in 2004 to 63% in 2014). With less people able to afford a home in the current market, there have been increases in the numbers of people looking to rent in New South Wales, and particularly Sydney.

We were delighted to be commissioned by Churches Housing and Shelter NSW to uncover the story of rental unaffordability in New South Wales. Through this research, we discovered that finding an available, affordable rental property is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly for those in the bottom 20% of income earners.

The decrease in the availability of rental properties over the last decade or so, has been influenced by a number of factors. Rental prices have increased due to the increased numbers of people looking to rent, and in past decades, rental prices have grown faster than income.

The infographic particularly highlights the difficulties for the bottom 40% of income earners in looking for appropriate rental properties. The term ‘rental stress’ is used to describe those in the bottom 40% who are spending over 30% of their income in housing costs. In 2013-14 NSW had the highest proportion of low income households experiencing rental stress, at 76% (compared to 68% nationally). For these households, rental stress can impact on other areas of life, including health care, schooling, diet and in the worst case can sometimes lead to homelessness. 


What Makes a City the Most Liveable?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What makes a state or city liveable? Is it the low crime rate, affordability, ease of travel or is it simply the weather? We have compared some of the major factors and revealed what Aussies really think.

Affordability

If you take the average weekly earnings, subtract the average weekly mortgage repayments based on house costs, you find that NSW doesn’t do too well, it is earning 20% above the average, but the houses are 64% above the average, so NSW works out to be the worst in terms of income after housing. But WA is on top of the charts, with the ACT doing pretty well also.


Ease of travel

We took the centre of population of each of our capital cities, the mid-point of the population sprawl where as many people live north, as south of this point, and as many east, as west. From this centre of living we measured the average, non-peak hour driving time to the centre of the CBD marked by the GPO of each capital. We found that as we would probably expect, Sydney was the longest drive, about 33 minutes to get from the centre of population to the centre of the city, but the quickest trip of all was Brisbane with just 8 minutes.


Crime rates

This is the number of offenders per annum, per 100 people and the Territories book end the data here, with the ACT with the lowest crime rate nationally and the Northern Territory as the highest crime rate and the other states right in the middle. As measured by crime rates, the ACT is Australia’s safest place to live.


Weather

We measured this by looking at the average number of sunny days - totally clear days in a year. Tasmania not doing too well with a lot of cloudy, overcast days, but WA takes the crown with the most number of sunny days in any given year.



Watch Mark McCrindle's full interview on The Daily Edition here


The Shopper's Pick: Understanding Australia's new village green

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This year we were delighted to write up and design the third and latest report in the Trolley Trends Series, ‘The Shoppers Pick’ for Woolworths Limited. From developing the survey through to conducting the analysis, this report is the perfect blend of quality research with segmentation and visuals, making the research easy to consume.

With 1 in 5 (20%) Australian supermarket customers going to the supermarket at least once a week, the report reveals that a record number of people (44%) consider the local shopping centre to be central to community life and has truly established itself as the new village green – a place for connection and engagement with the wider community, perhaps even more so than the local pub, school or community centre.

It is the theme of local which is clearly the key message of ‘The Shopper’s Pick’, which provides a unique look into modern Australia’s living, eating and shopping habits today.


A GLOBAL NATION WITH A PASSION FOR LOCAL

As Australia becomes increasingly connected to global economies and new technologies, there is an equal if not stronger desire among shoppers to support Australian made products and local growers. It is increasingly important to Australian shoppers to know where their food comes from.

More than half of Australian shoppers (52%) state that buying local food is extremely or very important to them. In fact, around a quarter of shoppers prefer to purchase meat and poultry, bread and grains, and seafood and fish that are sourced locally in their own region rather than sourced further afield in their own state or within another region in Australia.


AUSTRALIA’S SEASONAL PERSONALITIES

Australians are impacted in different ways by the changing seasons. Australia’s Seasonal Personalities explores the different personalities of Australians and the impact seasons have on their lifestyle. Which Seasonal Personality are you?

THE HEALTH REVOLUTION

Australians are becoming increasingly health conscious and aware of the foods they consume. This trend towards healthy eating is demonstrated in the increase of health foods being included by Australians in their weekly shop.

Just over half of shoppers (52%) buy health food products weekly (i.e. sugar free, additive free, gluten free, dairy free, organic, raw, salt free or vegan), with sugar free products the most likely to be on Australians’ shopping lists and purchased by just over half of shoppers (51%), followed by organic and raw foods (both at 35%), and additive free foods (27%).


VALUE SWAG: A NATION OF CREATIVE SAVERS

Australians are a nation of savvy shoppers, who seek products that are value for money. Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers (69%) state that buying on discount is extremely or very important to them. These values are reflected in the ingredients they purchase for meals cooked at home, with 99% of Australian shoppers saying price is an important factor they take into consideration. As part of being savvy shoppers, Australians are also creative savers. Almost 6 in 10 shoppers (58%) save money by purchasing groceries based on weekly specials, while just over half (52%) save money by writing a shopping list and sticking to it. Stocking up and bulk-buying are two other ways Australians save money, with just over half of shoppers (53%) currently saving money by stocking up on discounted non-perishables.


This report follows on from the 2014 Trolley Trends Report which focused on the increasing importance of ‘Fresh’ amongst the Australian population. The report also found that one of the most common community connections for Australians is the local shopping centre. To access the Future of Fresh report, please click here.

Australia's Household Income and Wealth Distribution

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Land of the middle class?

Australia has long been labelled the land of the middle class but the latest analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics wealth and income data shows that this is less the case today.

Household income by quintiles

This infographic of annual household income by quintiles (20% categories, each comprising around 2 million of Australia’s 10 million households) shows the spread of total earnings. While the average household annually earns just over $107,000, the top 1 in 5 earns more than twice this (exceeding $260,000) while the bottom 1 in 5 takes home around one-fifth of this (a little over $22,000). This means that while the bottom fifth of households get 4% of all income, the top fifth get almost half of all earnings (49%).

Highest fifth have incomes 12 times the lowest fifth

The top quintile in gross terms earn almost as much as the other 80% of households combined. In ratio form, the highest quintile households average 12 times the average bottom quintile income.

Gini coefficient shows growing income divides

The Gini coefficient is a measure of income spread, with 0 being perfect equality and 1 being total inequality. The latest data shows that it is now at its highest (most unequal) level ever at 0.446 compared to 0.417 in the mid 1990’s. In the 20 years since, average household gross incomes have increased 60% from $66,196 to $107,276 today while over the same period, incomes of the top 1 in 5 households (highest quintile) have increased by 74% from $149,552 to $260,104.

Highest earners also had highest income growth

In the decade since 2005-06, most of the household categories have seen income increases of 18-19% with an average increase of 24% ($20,956 increase from $86,320 to the current $107,276) while the highest quintile has enjoyed income increases of 30% ($60,528 higher than a decade ago, up from $199,576 to $260,104).

Household wealth by quintile

Accumulated earnings are best represented by net wealth, and this is where the changing economic landscape is even more dramatically presented. While the average Australian household has net wealth of $809,900, the highest quintile household on average has a net wealth more than three times this ($2,514,400) while the lowest quintile household wealth is just a fraction of this (4% of the average wealth, or $35,500). The lowest 20% of Australian households own less than 1% (0.9%) of the national private wealth while the highest 20% own 62% of the national private wealth.

Wealthiest 20% own 71 times that of the lowest 20%

The wealth of the highest quintile households on average is 71 times that of the lowest quintile households. While the average Australian household has seen wealth increase by 6% in the last 2 years (an increase of $45,400), the highest fifth of households have averaged increases of 8% (an increase of $189,500). Only upon reaching the fourth of five quintiles does the average household net wealth ($830,600) exceed the average house price ($720,000), while the highest quintile households on average have a net worth exceeding 3 average Australian homes.

Wealthy have net worth many multiples of income

The net wealth of the lowest quintile is just 1.6 times annual income, for the average household wealth is 7.5 times incomes while for the highest quintile, their wealth is almost 10 their average annual income, and more than 23 times the average Australian household annual income.

Does Generation Y have it easier than the Baby Boomers?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

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 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.

Our Research Director, Eliane Miles, chats to Tony Delroy from ABC Nightlife about the future of Generation Y and whether we need to stop giving Gen Y a hard time.

Eliane, can you compare the wealth of the baby boomers at 25, to Gen Y at the same age – what story do the figures tell?

Well earnings have certainly increased, with average annual full-time salary in 1984 at $19,000 compared to $80,000 today. However houses were also cheaper, with the average price of a residential property costing just $64,000 compared to more than 10 times that across the nation today. In 1975, the median house price was just 5 times the average full-time earnings, but in 1996 this increased to 6 times and today it currently sits at 13 times! Property was cheap, and while it was more difficult to borrow, Baby Boomers were raised with a saving mindset so made the most of their hard work.

There has been a stereotype of Generation Y being demanding in the workplace, not being prepared to put in the hard yards at the bottom of the rung, of not holding loyalty towards employers – to what extent do you think any of those stereotypes ring true?

These stereotypes are the same stereotypes that were made 15 years ago towards Gen X. That somehow the economic mishaps of Gen Y are their own moral failure (lazy, expect too much, spend too much time on social endeavours). Yet there’s a lot of other factors at play and it’s not entirely bad. They’re not locking into a job the same way as their parents (average tenure is 2 years and 8 months for Gen Y compared to 6 years and 8 months for Baby Boomers) but it’s not all bad. Enduring education longer, staying at home longer, the reality of formal education and global connectedness means they’re more equipped and resourced to collaborate in the 21st century, more able to engage in a diverse workforce and lead in collaborative ways.

The fact that Gen Y’s value work-life balance is a good thing, they are less likely to get burned out, more relatable to life, not just saving their leave for one day in retirement but bringing life. Older generations bring experience and structured thinking, younger generations bring innovation, 21st century education, and greater cultural diversity to the working world.

Eliane, do you think there are certain expectations that Gen Y grew up with that they’re suddenly wondering if they’re actually going to happen?

Yes certainly. Gen Y’s saw the miracle wealth accumulation that their Baby Boomer parents had, and expect to start their economic lives in the same way their parents are ending theirs. Now, there’s a realisation that all of the factors that set up the Baby Boomer generation probably won’t be on-side for Gen Y. They’ve dreamt of having it all – the house, the car, the annual overseas trips, the dining out … but the reality of what they’ve been handed is that one or perhaps more of those things need to go.

How was the economic environment different for young baby boomers compared to young Generation Y’s?

Baby Boomers were handed a series of fortunate events. Rather than looking at income in the mid-20s let’s compare the two environments in which they became wealth accumulators.

Firstly, the path begins with their birth (1946-1964), a period of time or remarkable economic development after WW2 (post-war rations, high rate of savings). Beliefs about what the government should provide (health care, education, unemployment, and tax benefits) have reflected the priorities of this generation and the environment that they were raised in.

Then they benefited from the good economic times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as they were already in the property market. Baby Boomers had a 27 year period of uninterrupted economic boom (from the recession in the early 1990s to 2008) which is likely to be unprecedented and never again seen among Australians of any generation.

Now the tables have turned.

Gen Y didn’t get access to free education, cheap rent while saving or union-protected and secure jobs. Young people today have little prospect of owning a home, so consumer spending improves their quality of life. Baby Boomers have a larger share of the pie while Gen Y, nor any other generation following the Baby Boomers for that matter, will reach a similar landmark. They benefited from advantageous tax systems and modest taxes. Their generation thrived in a unique, economic miracle.

But it’s not all bad news for Gen Y.

Australia is one of the few wealthy countries which has seen disposable income growth be higher for those aged 25-29 than those aged 65-69, with 27% growth compared with 14% growth between 1985 and 2010.

When it comes to homeownership amongst Gen Y members, how do they compare to the generations before them at a similar age?

In 1981, 61% of those aged 25-34 owned their own home and in 2011, this figure had dropped to 47% of those in the same age bracket. Across the board (not just in the younger years) we’ve seen a decline in home ownership. 20 years ago, 42% of Australians owned their home outright, which has decreased to less than 30% today. Furthermore, just 26% were renting, which has grown to almost a third today (31%).

So why this decline? This can be attributed to the emergence of single-person and single-parent households, the growing gap between house prices and average weekly earnings and tax concessions to owner occupiers. With government policies being geared towards home ownership, this means that Gen Y’s who start their earning lives later risk spending more of their income on housing costs when they retire.

Let’s set the crystal ball 50 years into the future – Eliane what do you see for Gen Y in 2066?

Demographically, Australia’s population will certainly have grown – Australia will have over 40 million people, Sydney over 8.4 million and Melbourne 8.5 million, having overtaken Sydney as Australia’s largest city by 2056. Migration will continue to drive growth, and with increasing cultural diversity and greater influence from Asia, the population growth will continue to drive house prices upwards.

Australia’s population will also be ageing. 58% of the population will be in their 50s or older in 2066, one quarter will be over 65 and 1 in 6 will be over 75. In a nutshell, there will be more people aged over 60 than under 20.

And lastly, we will have changed a lot in that time as well. In 2066 Gen Y’s will be aged 72 to 86, and Gen Z’s (those now aged 7-21), of whom there are already 4.43 million in Australia (comprising 18% of the population), will be nearing their retirement years (57 to 71). So by 2066 we’ll have seen 3 more generations emerge after Gen Alpha and we can be sure that these individuals will be shaped in completely different times.

ABOUT ELIANE MILES

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

With academic qualifications in community engagement and postgraduate studies in international development and global health, Eliane brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting. As a social researcher, she has been interviewed on these topics on prominent television programs such as National Nine News and Today, as well as on radio and in online media.

DOWNLOAD ELIANE'S SPEAKERS PACK HERE

To have Eliane present at your next event, please feel free to get in touch via email to ashley@mccrindle.com.au or call through to 02 8824 3422

Australia at 12 vs 24 million

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Australia’s population will soar to 24 million this year, but what exactly did the country look like when the population was half that? The year was 1968 – John Gorton was Prime Minister, our soldiers were still in Vietnam and it was the year that Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman were born.

But since then Australia’s population has sky rocketed. The population has doubled since 1968. We had just hit 12 million back then, and next month we will hit 24 million people nationally. In fact 1 in 3 Aussies have seen the population double in their lifetime.

The rate of marriages has dropped by over 40% since then, and in 1968 the average woman had 2.34 babies, compared to today’s 1.8.

Weekly earnings have also increased over the last 48 years. If we go back to 1968, the average hourly rate was $1.22, and that meant that the weekly wage was about $48.00 per week. Comparatively, today’s average earnings – if you put it in annual terms – is about $88,000 per year.

While wages have risen so too has the cost of living, and owning your own home is now 5 times more expensive than it was 48 years ago. Back in 1968 the average Sydney home would set you back $18,000, compared to the average Sydney median house price of $1 million today.

But the good news is that milk, butter and potatoes all cost less today. A litre of milk back then was 19 cents, in today’s dollars that’s actually $2.00, which is more expensive than a litre of milk today which is about $1.25.



ABOUT MARK MCCRINDLE

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

DOWNLOAD MARK'S SPEAKING PACK HERE

Exploring the Sentiment of Sydneysiders

Monday, January 18, 2016

In August 2015, McCrindle Research surveyed 1,007 Sydneysiders on their attitudes and sentiments towards the current state and The Future of Sydney.

Future analysis of the sentiments of Sydneysiders has now been conducted, revealing the differences in sentiment within various demographic categories towards how Sydney is now, compared to 5 years ago and to how they perceive Sydney to be in 5 years’ time.

Males more optimistic

1 in 5 (20%) males are expectant optimists who stated that they think Sydney is better now than it was 5 years ago and it will be even better in 5 years’ time compared with only 14% of females.

Overall, 37% of males think that Sydney is better now than it was 5 years ago and 35% think that Sydney will be even better in 5 years’ time compared with 30% and 28% of females respectively.

Generation Y the most positive

1 in 5 (20%) Gen Y’s are expectant optimists with Baby Boomers having the smallest proportion in this category (14%) with 3 in 5 (60%) Gen X’s and Baby Boomers falling into the concerned pessimists category.

Over 2 in 5 (42%) Gen Y’s think that Sydney is better now it was 5 years ago but only 1 in 4 (26%) Baby Boomers feel the same way. Just over 7 in 10 Gen X’s (73%) and Baby Boomers (72%) think that Sydney will be worse in 5 years’ time, compared with just over 3 in 5 (63%) Gen Y’s.

City dwellers have a more buoyant outlook than those in the outer suburbs

The Central region of Sydney is the region with the largest proportion of expectant optimists at 20% with the South West region having the lowest at 15%.

However, the over 1 in 3 respondents from the South West region (35%) stated that they think that Sydney will be better in 5 years’ time, the highest proportion out of all the regions, followed by the Western Suburbs with 33%.

Families with dependents more upbeat

1 in 5 (20%) respondents who live in a household with children are expectant optimists compared with fewer than 1 in 6 (15%) who live in a household without children.

Almost 2 in 5 (39%) respondents living in a household with children stated that they think that Sydney is better now than it was 5 years ago compared with 3 in 10 (31%) of those in households without children.

Middle income earners most optimistic

Surprisingly, the proportion of respondents who are concern pessimists was higher in those in 2nd highest income quintile than those in the other 4 quintiles.

The largest proportion of respondents who stated that they think Sydney is better than it was 5 years ago was of those in the middle income quintile (40%).

The lower the perception of population size, the higher the optimism

Respondents who underestimated Sydney’s population the most (1 or 2 million) were the most likely to have been expectant optimists at 24% with those having the closest estimations being the most likely to be concerned pessimists (4 million = 53%, 5 million = 55%).

Sydney's Rising Star Suburbs

Monday, January 04, 2016

Analysis of the Urban Living Index shows the
top 3 growth areas to watch


The Urban Living Index rates each of Sydney’s suburbs based on five key liveability factors: Community, Employability, Amenity, Accessibility and importantly, Affordability.

While some of Sydney’s most glamorous suburbs such as Bondi, Neutral Bay and Manly did very well on the first four measures, they did not do well in the affordability category. The cost of living and the cost of housing are currently red-hot issues for Sydney siders and so affordability is in many ways the priority issue with the other lifestyle measures remaining purely theoretical for those priced out of an area.

The majority of Sydneysiders (51%) believe that their area will be even less affordable in three years’ time than it is today- which is almost five times as many as those who believe their area will become more affordable. And most strikingly, almost 9 in 10 Sydney residents (88%) state that housing affordability will be a massive or significant challenge for the next generation.

With this in mind, we have analysed the Urban Living Index data of all Sydney suburbs to find the areas that have excellent affordability- but also rate very well on the other lifestyle measures.

While there are 25 suburbs that score 15 or above (out of 20) for affordability, there are three areas in this list that have great results in the other liveability categories as well.

1st Lalor Park

Lalor Park and the adjoining Kings Langley toped our hot spotting list. The affordability score (15) was excellent, and these suburbs have an amenity score (a measure of the number of shops, restaurants, arts and recreation facilities and educational options in the suburb) which was very good. In fact these suburbs scored higher on the local amenity provisions than suburbs including Newport, Wahroonga and Frenchs Forest. Similarly Lalor Park and Kings Langley scored well on accessibility (a measure that looks at public transport, employment access and walkability of an area) and above beach and harbour side suburbs like Avalon and Rose Bay.

While the overall score for Lalor Park-Kings Langley is in the “Very Good” category, its excellent affordability ranking makes it a suburb likely to boom.

2nd Menai

Menai and the adjoining suburbs of Lucas Heights and Woronora are the next suburbs set to take off based on this analysis. Relative to other Sydney suburbs, the affordability is in the excellent category and this is matched by the employability category. So the combination of good employment numbers, a significant local economy and access to housing more affordable than much of Sydney, this area in Sydney’s south is a clear hotspot.

3rd Blaxland

The third most rated area from this affordability and liveability analysis is Blaxland at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the adjoining suburbs of Warrimoo and Lapstone. Just 8 minutes from the M4 motorway, and less than 10 minutes from the Western Sydney suburbs of Penrith and Emu Plains, this area has become part of Sydney’s greater west yet the affordability, along with the community and amenity scores lift it above many areas in the outer western Sydney ring.

As the urban living index data shows, liveability depends on more than just water views and beach access- the practical factors of educational options, employment access, public transport and other built amenity and of course affordability all make an area desirable and facilitate lifestyle. That is why each of these areas have rated on the Index above the well-heeled suburbs of Palm Beach, Belrose and Vaucluse and it is why they stand out as rising stars.


This research we conducted for Urban Taskforce Australia is an example of robust research generating significant media activity and reader interest. This particular piece was summarised in the Sydney Morning Herald here, and as you can see from the image below was in the top 5 most read columns on the day in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age and the Brisbane Times.

For more information

The Urban Living Index was developed by McCrindle for Urban Taskforce Australia. More information and interactive maps are available at www.urbanlivingindex.com

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