The Centrality of Housing Tenure: Further Perspectives on the Lives of Older Public and Private Renters in Australia

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Yuvisthi NAIDOO , Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Alan MORRIS , University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Recent estimates indicate that around eight out ten older Australians are homeowners, with 70 per cent outright homeowners. Much research has focused on exploring the implications of this high rate of homeownership.  However, research on older public and private tenants has been limited.  This paper is part of an ongoing investigation exploring and comparing the life circumstances of older public and private renters and the centrality of housing tenure. It is based on in-depth interviews with older renters in the private rental market and in public/social housing and a quantitative analysis of socio-economic household and individual data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The study focuses on the relationship between the cost of the accommodation, security of tenure, type and quality of accommodation, location and characteristics of the neighbourhood and financial stress, income manageability, physical and mental health and subjective well-being. The results highlight the central role housing security and cost play in ameliorating or exacerbating the well-being of older tenants and their ability to lead a decent and valued life. The older public housing tenants because their rent is fixed at 25 per cent of their income and their security of tenure is guaranteed are able to lead a decent life and their subjective well-being is high. However, the subjective well-being of older private renters is generally poor. This is mainly due to their negligible security of tenure and the high cost of their accommodation.