Could home ownership unlock the door to happiness?

A recent report revealed that seven in 10 Aussies believe owning their own home is crucial to their overall happiness.

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Great Southern Bank commissioned a study on the relationship between living situations and happiness, and the results are in: owning your own home makes a substantial difference to emotional wellbeing.

The research report found that self-reported happiness levels consistently improve as respondents move closer to owning their home outright.

Long-term renters are the least happy with their living situation, with only 29 per cent stating satisfaction. In contrast, 45 per cent of mortgage holders state they are happy with their living situation, while 57 per cent of those who own their homes outright claim to be happy.

According to Great Southern Bank’s chief customer officer Megan Keleher, the report demonstrated that home ownership “is worth the trade-offs people make along the way”.

“Australian home owners do become happier over time, as they build the equity in their home,” she stated.

Sentiment also appears to improve with age, as respondents move through different life stages. When quizzed on a range of contributing factors – including location, housing condition, stability, size, and internal look and feel – Baby Boomers are happier on average than Gen Zs by up to 20 percentage points.

Things are particularly dire for renters, with over 50 per cent of respondents who rent reporting they feel heavily burdened by their financial commitments. In contrast, only 36 per cent of home owners feel the same, marking a substantial drop in financial anxiety.

Renters are also significantly more worried about the cost of living crisis than home owners, with a staggering 84 per cent of renters expressing concern.

Ms Keleher noted: “Gen Zs and Millennials tell us that saving a deposit is the key barrier to taking that first step towards buying a home.”

Despite this obstacle, 29 per cent of renters and 18 per cent of long-term renters are confident they can eventually achieve their goals of owning their own home.

In fact, one in two renters hopes to purchase a home within the next three years.

For renters who feel disheartened about becoming home owners, Ms Keleher asserted: “Whilst the journey to get there comes with challenges, there are simple steps that aspiring buyers can take to help them get onto the property ladder.”

“For those buyers who are finding it difficult to save a deposit, there is support available from several government initiatives. For example, the federal government Home Guarantee Scheme’s expanded eligibility criteria is helping more first home buyers, as well as those who haven’t owned a home for many years,” she shared.

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