Three charts on: who is the typical investor in the Australian property market?

Contrary to the image a property investor might conjure up – a wealthy full-time property speculator – most residential investors in Australia don’t actually rely on it as their primary source of income.

In reality, Australia’s residential investment market is dominated by people who, having bought their own home, have moved onto buying an investment property. These small-scale investors own 83% of all investment properties.

Previous research shows that real estate investors tend to be married, wealthy males with high income and full-time employment.

A typical rental housing investor is a high-income earner or family partnership, owning one or two dwellings as an extra income source. The probability of becoming a residential investor tends to increase with age and homeowner status, but declines after the age of 65.

 


Proportion of value of housing finance by owner-occupiers and residential investors


Data source: ABS, 5609.0 Housing Finance, Australia. TABLE 11. HOUSING FINANCE COMMITMENTS (Owner Occupation and Investment Housing), By Purpose: Australia, ($’000).


With home ownership rates in Australia at around 70%, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that residential investment represents, on average, 35% of all housing finance, while the rest are all owner-occupiers. This means residential investment is an important part of the mortgage market and banking system.

Most residential investment is centred around rent or resale; only a small proportion goes on construction of new homes. And residential investment by corporations or big companies represents only 8% of the market.

Private data from a major mortgage provider used in my research (for the period 2003-09) reveals what the typical real estate investor looks like. They are on average 42 years old; 72% are married; and fewer than two-thirds of investors get finance with a co-borrower. Only a third of investors are female.


Image source: The Conversation, CC BY-ND

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