Are the rich getting richer?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Australia has long been considered the land of the fair go. It is a nation regarded as a classless society where the suburbs were the social equalisers- a melting pot of lawyers and labourers, teachers and tradies.

The ‘great Australian dream’ where people on average incomes near the start of their working life could afford a home is fading and the latest data reveals a widening wealth gap.

What are the drivers of this wealth stratification?

Property prices and ownership

The latest HILDA data from the University of Melbourne showed that two decades ago, one in three young people aged 18 - 39 owned a property, compared to today, where just one in four young people own a property.

The impact of growing demand on house prices is most evident when comparing prices to average earnings. Twenty years ago, the average Sydney house was 5.6 times average annual earnings while in Melbourne it was an affordable 3.4 times annual earnings.

Today, Sydney homes are more than 14 times average earnings, and in Melbourne more than 11 times annual earnings.

Generational challenge

The generational financial inequities are even more pronounced when analysing net wealth by generational cohort.

While Gen Y have a household net worth of $268,800, it is less than half that of the Gen Xers who are just a decade older. The highest net worth generation in Australia are the Boomers aged 55-64 who not only have a net wealth almost 5 times that of the generation of their children (Gen Y) but they still have a decade or more of earnings and wealth accumulating ahead of them.

How can we level the playing field?

Policy has partly created the rising house prices through migration settings and therefore population growth. Policy settings have also created the SMSF demand for property and tax settings such as negative gearing have been a boon for property investment. Therefore policy could also assist in bringing a solution such as assisting in intergenerational wealth transfer or allowing superannuation fund access for first-home buyers. For a generation finding it harder to get a foothold in property, further research into possible policy adjustments is a worthwhile approach.

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.

The Fading Australian Dream

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Housing affordability is currently a key issue of discussion in Australia and while there are a number of factors at play, the main price driver is that demand for houses is exceeding supply. Population growth, a trend to smaller households (and so more homes needed relative to the population), and demand for homes not only from first home buyers but also from downsizers, overseas buyers, local investors, and self-managed super funds and trusts are all fuelling price rises.

While Australia’s current annual population growth of 1.4% may seem modest, this adds almost 340,000 to our population each year- which is one new Darwin every 20 weeks or a new Tasmania every 18 months.

Where population growth is strongest, house price rises are the highest

Sydney is growing much faster than this having averaged 1.8% per annum for the last five years. It will add almost two million to its population by 2037 – which is the equivalent of adding a new Perth into Sydney. Melbourne is currently Australia’s fastest growing city and based on the current growth trends, it will overtake Sydney to become the nation’s largest city around the middle of this century. Unsurprisingly where population growth is strongest, house price rises are the highest.

Earnings growth has not kept up with house price growth

In just twenty years, the average Sydney house price has increased more than five-fold from $233,250 in 1997 to $1,190,390 today while in Melbourne prices over the same period have increased by more than six times from $142,000 to $943,100 today. While it is true that wages have increased over this time, earnings growth has not kept up with house price growth. In 20 years, average annual full-time earnings have not quite doubled from $42,010 in 1997 to $82,784 today.

The impact of growing demand on house prices is most evident when comparing prices to average earnings. Twenty years ago, the average Sydney house was 5.6 times average annual earnings while in Melbourne it was an affordable 3.4 times annual earnings. Today Sydney homes are more than 14 times average earnings, and in Melbourne more than 11 times annual earnings. While the maxim that house prices double every 10 years is not always the case and growth fluctuates, since 1997 Sydney prices have in effect doubled every 8 years while Melbourne has managed this every 6 years.

If the growth metrics over the last two decades play out over the next two, the average home in both Sydney and Melbourne in 2037 will exceed $6 million. Clearly, the Australian dream of home ownership for the next generation is fading. Young people today need almost three times the purchasing power that their parents needed to buy the average place, so even double incomes will not quite do it. Additionally, today’s new households are starting their earnings years later than their parents, having spent longer in tertiary studies, and they begin their economic life not with zero savings like their parents, but well into the negative- with interest accumulating study debts to pay off. Even if today’s emerging generations start saving harder and earlier and live with their parents longer, home ownership is still not a given.

Policy settings around migration and baby bonuses have grown the population and policies around property tax incentives, self-managed superannuation and investment provisions have fuelled property demand therefore policy support will be required to bring the great Australian dream a little bit closer to reality.

Sources: Population at 2017 (ABS). 1997 prices: Macquarie University (Abelson). 2017 house prices: Core Logic. Analysis: McCrindle

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. 

A Snapshot of the Changes Transforming Real Estate

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Change. It’s happening all around us, and it’s easy to be intimidated by the scope and scale of it, but if we can observe the trends and the shifts, then we don’t have to become victims of change but rather we can proactively respond. That’s what’s key. Having the confidence to move forward strategically and proactively, to embrace the trends rather than hide from them.

Earlier this year Mark McCrindle presented Understanding the Times, Shaping the Trends: A Snapshot of the Changes Transforming Real Estate at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria National 2016 Conference. Here are some of his thoughts on trends shaping the Real Estate Industry.

How are generational differences impacting the REAL Estate industry?

Generationally, it is more important than ever to understand the six generations that we have in Australia. While the younger generations might not be active clients in terms of real estate vendors, they do influence parental purchasing and decisions a lot.

We can sometimes pre-qualify people based on our perception of where they’re at in their life stage, but actually there are a lot of people in their late 70’s who are still active in property, perhaps downsizing to buy their next place. Then you’ve got someone in their early 20’s who’s maybe not buying their own place, but perhaps looking at an expensive home because they will be living in that home with their parents. We have to understand the diversity of the generations and all of them may well be active influencers in the buying decision.

Do you have any recommendations on how the Real Estate industry can engage their community?

Sometimes the best connections are actual connections, not just personal ones. The events, the openings, the events where we invite the community along and talk about the area and what’s happening. That brand experience, where people can come to meet and greet with free pizza or cocktails, that sort of thing is what works well, people are looking for that social interaction.

Any tips for those working in real estate?

Well I’d sum it up with the 4 R’s of Real Estate in the 21st Century:


Keep it real and authentic


To adjust and adapt


Keep it relational in terms of how we connect


We can’t just rely on yesterday’s wins, we have to adjust and adapt to remain responsive to the needs of today


Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair.

His research firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and his highly valued reports and infographics have developed his regard as a data scientist, demographer, futurist and social commentator.


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.


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.


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

Homes of the Future: Mark McCrindle discusses housing trends

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What is shaping our built environment?

The first is population growth. Australia has just reached 24 million which means we have added an extra million people in less than 3 years, and most of this growth is in our larger capital cities. This is creating a shift from suburban to urban living; from the traditional horizontal communities to the new vertical ones. In our largest capital cities, two-thirds of all new housing approvals are high or medium density rather than detached homes. This densification is creating walkable communities, multi-use areas where people live, work and play in a more localised space, and of course increased access to transit and transport hubs. The other factor shaping developments is affordability. With rising house prices, Australians are looking for financially sustainable options which meet the needs of both lifestyle and affordability, and create the flexibility for our homes to change in tune with our needs and lifestyles.

What are the current trends and will they last?

While design trends come and go with the changing fashions, there are some broader development trends that are here to stay. The increased access to open spaces, in-door out-door areas, balconies, natural light and bringing vegetation into urban environments are all timeless trends that resonates with our temperate climate and needs. Similarly, with food central to our social environment, open-plan kitchens and meal areas in homes and open social spaces in offices are trends we will see continue.

How is technology affecting it?

Today’s technology is seamlessly integrated into our lives, and we are seeing the same seamless integration into our homes. The internet of things means that lighting, sound, temperature, entertainment and security in our domestic environments are all manageable through our personal devices. The decade ahead will see our pantries and fridges talk to our devices to update shopping lists, our home entertainment experience continue playing seamlessly on our portable devices and our hydrogen cars help power our homes.

Image source: The Clipsal Smart Home range (courtesy of

What are the demographic trends?

Homes of the future will have the flexibility to accommodate multiple generations living under the one roof. They will meet the changing needs of a more culturally diverse community and have clever innovations to facilitate support to Australians living independently in their homes to a much older age than we currently see.

What does the future hold?

While Generation Z, who are just starting their careers, will have to pay more for their homes in the future, these buildings and the built environment in which they sit will far exceed what their parents experienced in their first homes. Not only will the technologies and fittings in the home be exciting but the community spaces, café culture and neighbourhood amenities will continue to adjust and adapt to meet the lifestyle expectations of the 21st Century generations.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


kate middleton not for profit survey politics future of shopping shopper's pick insight village baby name trends community engagement Word Up hello fresh the lucky country Research Executive Australian demographics list conferences year 12 community event priorities norwest high density living know the times social enquiry finance ease of travel 2014 demographic transformations business index investor commuters sydney speaker authenticity national wealth WA click education future report winter digital work from home australian community trends report Education Future Forum christmas visual global generation friendship average sydneysider spirituality SRE news consumer gen alpha environment learning donation Res Vis gig economy showreel energy brand weather Australian communities mother's day friends Christchurch world youth day engagement urban shbc Do It Yourself slideshare maiden names paying to work resilience cooking innovative prince george NBRS Architecture Royals religion experience investment 1994 grave decision hills office space school students financial planning NSW property price global financial crisis darwin offenders storytelling education sector REIV National Conference unaffordable demography public speaker study not for profit research family Engineering Manager google for education 40 million twentyseventeen Australian Home Merry Christmas professional speaker Gen Y volunteer group brands CBD celebration economic who is generation z Sydney Hills Business Chamber parenting money suburb christmas trees business performance What is food insecurity? baby names report easy rider train Gen Z Expert urban development Australia street Australian schools average aussie growth of sydney Christmas day weather australians staying home more earnings social media logan Canberra mccrindle tea resource training Mark McCrindle low density charity researcher Christmas day earning CPI bureau Wodonga Retail 2017 affordability poor christian Jura Australia future of education 10 years states careers Aussie trends analyst Hills Shire Council coffee lovers wage supply and demand goal Netflix McCrindle Keynote Speakers employment social research US office opening social commentator aged care puzzle moderators guide church food bank the australian dream contiki cash mover and shaker capital city Australian Population sustainable generational trends teleworking networking engage cars social lives organisational culture Mount Annan-Currant Hill interactive equip VET royal influence seasons social analysis coffee townhouses English Population Clock micro apartments suburbs hunger ACF17 ideas car faux-cilising in depth interviews teach tattoos government survey design women leadersip ACT Report online shopping anzac learner language new york times speakers pack gender socialising #censusfail Tuesday Trend ashley fell maiden balance Research Director google 2016 Christmas lunch families household presentation names mortgage the changing face of buildings baby name property market charities daily commute entertainment australian TDE post rationalism Bathburst earn Financial Planning Association giving Elderslie-Harrington park jobs of the future urban taskforce vegetarian PSI facts trends mccrindle research recap millennials employmer product FPA perth work mates System's Architect ACF 2016 father's day belief New Zeland neutral bay collaboration growing population litter technology financial future cancel plans research services TEDx Speaker rising house prices narcissism Macquarie University world ageing Charlotte local ethnography menai results leadership workshop wealth and income Generation X HSC internship responsive the hills builders screenagers population growth media release mythbusting outsourcing rise of local data sunburnt country Myth leadership Scouts life royal baby faux-ciliser report workplace culture shopping centre Andrew Duffin cancelling plans "know the times" average Australian Australian Bureau of Statistics housing affordability entrepreneurs of today housing market moreton bay Gen X jobs impact Lower Hunter Region hills shire Social Trend property development digital economy land of the middle class Work place World Water Day stats apartments Financial Planning Week futurist parents participants customer Geoff Brailey Northern beaches Event owning a home meals aussie culture sun live the dream divorce future proofing younger generations personal growth TAS community eliane australian communities forum ACF urban living summer REIV Conference typical australian divorce rate omnibus mining boom relational conference pharmacy Sydney keynote speaker debt video visualisation research ACT shifts Real Estate wellbeing teachers acf15 commuting income baby names public holiday baby boomers couple christianity census fail criminal mccrindle in the media education employers eliane miles communicate Australia Day 2017 house price rise marriage media activity cost Tuesday Trends Deaths happiness learn professional presenters seasons greetings thrive Lower Hunter sentiments house prices salary Wellington internships students forecast quote faux-cilise NBRS define crime population map media commentary non profit statistics Adelaide future the average aussie 1980 Kiwi princess charlotte speaker real high density apartments Christmas data trends of 2017 mateship FOMO communications baby potts point Cobbitty-Leppington research pack tv baby names australia report Christmas research care support gold coast households poker master future of work work forecasting unemployment shopping budget commute schools students Channel 7 university gen z home housing urban living index optimistic social analyst australian social research Skilling schools culturally diverse cultural diveristy baby boom safe local community proactive Wagga Wagga royal local communities weekly earnings award TEDx food insecurity Crime Rates pharmacies cost of living Black Friday the hills shire Christmas in Australia group session speakers Australian Dream ferry communication stay home keynote entrepreneurial bus sydney metro sunny days Sydney wages sydneycity micro residents vegemite aged care tuesday leader social researcher lifestyle conference speaker rent demographic trends alpha demographic financial Christmas season fears hopes Australian Census staying in rental stress dessert innovation panel growth SMSF greatness SMART Queensland: QLD water sydneysiders 2016 census results house qualitative research generation Z mobile 1968 casual research visualisation New Zealand gig Australian Families The Daily Edition the great screenage tips society trends property national crime rates marketing staff social impact culture consumerism hornsby faith 23 million relevant manly event national private wealth city debate dreams DESTEL breakfast rule keeper cold ageing population brand experience dare to dream middle class DIY cancelling event high density repayments baby name predictions online area career keynote speaker daily telegraph collaborative tertiary education spend blaxland affordable housing growth workforce business screenage social change generations speajer lalor park millionth teaching Performance Sentiment Index optus in the media suburban living marrickville mythbusters renter of the future australia ACF2017 hobart child care VET sector cultural diversity apartment huffington post crows nest bondi tableau challenge ultimo data visualisation choice workers demographics workplace Business analysis financial dreams Territory emerging technologies annual income travelling easter communities ipswich Northern Beaches Christian School cloudy days surnames investing Births media infographic wall mccrinlde financial fears mccrindle focus group 1975 etiquette GPO sydney property market ashley mckenzie purpose population milestone Australian Communities Trends waverton Aussies generation university degree Black Friday Sales Real Estate Institute of Victoria emerging generations living small business children census results Black Friday in Australia not-for-profit learning styles dream 2020 travel work-life transport intern Vocational education population analysis Australians school satisfaction South Australia McCrindle Speakers housing trends changing face of sydney state geomapping follow holidays wealth and income distribution data analyst young people ABS personalities student identity rain selfie internet conference presentation megatrends VIC January 26th Valentine’s Day donate public transport story healthy future NEETs research report goals chairty Willowdale skills motivate Sydney population professional social shifts Australia Day February 16 wealth distribution social researchers research on coffee christmas 2017 royal family do people still change their surname after marriage? trends of 2016 New South Wales SA McCridle sydney hills future proof year 7 social issues Tasmania demographer Christmas presents cartodb optus my business awards sports youth happy holidays EFF rich graphs public speaking forum school 2016 census insights Australian community trends Channel Seven long weekend award winner monarchy Maxim Accounting wealth inequality curiosity census 2016 24 million infographics sector wide study social commentary Melbourne Queensland Duchess of Cambridge Generation Y social TED talk millenials snapshot wealth trend tuesday organisations 2015 global retail newspaper marriages volunteers grandparents JOMO education research youth unemployment society holiday dreaming infographic educated home ownership fresh australian communities trends report men australian real estate trend Mark McCrindle in the media woolworths focus groups global generaion deloitte NFP event clothing wedding Jura Coffee sydney event census data young australians future-proof home owner 24,000,000 presentations global generations renting office Western Australia food new office entrepreneur workshop Financial Planning Association of Australia professional services research data census education future change capital cities Northern Territory brisbane HR educhat employmee house price 2013 Northern Beaches 2012 global environmental scanning domestic program professional development trades teacher plans tea meetings thought leadership sydneysider Hornsby Shire Council Sydney’s south west wolloomooloo Caregiver Christmas Stats IT Specialists nativity scene The ABC of XYZ Kirsten Brewer sector social life social trends medicine TED Hunter Valley case study retirement events mentor McCrindle Speaker toys victoria socialites increasing densification Australian Trends overcast James Ward emerging trends surname Love sector wide going out cica sydney market market research pyrmont high school volunteering publication Assistant Store Manager winter blues Sydney Lifestyle Study NT volunteering data financial independence generation alpha economy nfp