Home ownership dream is over
ONE in three people with a mortgage will struggle to meet repayments if interest rates rise as expected this year, new research reveals.
The study commissioned by The Salvation Army and conducted by Roy Morgan also found more than half of us (9.9 million) believe the great Australian dream of owning a home is over.
The Salvation Army officer Major Paul Moulds said the housing affordability crisis was having a catastrophic effect on those presenting to the Salvos for help.
"Two-thirds of people accessing our emergency relief services are living under extreme housing stress," he said.
"With more than half of their income going towards housing, many Australians simply can't afford to save money.
"A lack of job security is also complicating people's financial stability, pushing them further to the margins."
The survey of more than 1000 people also found 60 per cent believe they will either live "a basic lifestyle" or "struggle to get by financially" in retirement.
One in four of us are worried about "won't have enough reasonably paid work" or a "job at all" this year.
Nearly half of those surveyed were more worried about their financial situation compared to last year and 41 per cent said their financial situation was affecting their "emotional wellbeing", "family life", "career goals" or "social life".
Major Moulds said people needed to be more open about their financial problems before they escalated.
"We need to remove the stigma around asking for help," he said.
"We are urging people to take preventive steps to avoid hardship in the future.
"It's clear that many Australians are not having an honest conversation about their situation, and are waiting till they are in crisis before taking action."
The majority of economists expect interest rates to remain on hold until at least the second half of this year.
This week, National Australia Bank joined ANZ in abandoning its view that the Reserve Bank of Australia will hike interest rates twice this year, with the bank's economists now expecting a single rate rise in November.
The official cash rate has remained on hold at a record low 1.5 per cent since September, 2016.