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Locked-out: generational inequalities of housing tenure and housing type

Braam Lowies (Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia) (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, South Africa)
Graham Squires (Massey University – Manawatu Campus, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Peter Rossini (Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Stanley McGreal (School of the Built Environment, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Article publication date: 27 December 2021

Issue publication date: 12 July 2022




The purpose of this paper is to first explore whether Australia and the main metropolitan areas demonstrate significant differences in tenure and property type between generational groups. Second, whether the millennial generation is more likely to rent rather than own. Third, if such variation in tenure and property type by millennials is one of individual choice and lifestyle or the impact of housing market inefficiencies.


This paper employs a comparative research approach using secondary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to consider housing tenure and type distributions across generations as well as through cross-city analysis.


The results show that home ownership is still the dominant tenure in Australia, but private rental is of increasing significance, becoming the tenure of choice for Millennials. Owner occupation is shown to remain and high and stable levels for older generations and while lower in percentage terms for Generation X; this generation exhibits the highest growth rate for ownership. Significant differences are shown in tenure patterns across Australia.


The significance of this paper is the focus on the analysis of generational differences in housing tenure and type, initially for Australia and subsequently by major metropolitan areas over three inter-census periods (2006, 2011 and 2016). It enhances the understanding of how policies favouring ageing in place can contradict other policies on housing affordability with specific impact on Millennials as different generations are respectively unequally locked-out and locked-in to housing wealth.



Lowies, B., Squires, G., Rossini, P. and McGreal, S. (2022), "Locked-out: generational inequalities of housing tenure and housing type", Property Management, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 510-526.



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