Renters vs homeowners

How do renters and homeowners compare when it comes to happiness, wealth and financial wellbeing?

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Dirty dishes, a broken appliance and a questionable couch – many of us know the sharehouse experience. But for some Aussies, renting lasts a lot longer than a university degree. Rising property prices have made it more difficult for lower income earners to get their foot on the property ladder, and it's contributing to growing wealth inequality.

We used data from Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker – a survey of more than 30,000 respondents – to explore some of the major differences between renters and homeowners.

How do renters and homeowners compare?

RentersHomeowners
Percentage who are happy69%83%
Average amount in cash savings$13,951$40,854
Average amount saved per month$516$989
Percentage who are extremely stressed about their financial situation26%15%
Percentage who struggle to pay their rent/home loan31%22%
Percentage who feel secure in their job61%67%
Time needed to pay off credit card debt (months)9.15.2
Percentage who have paid BNPL late fees in the past 6 months9%5%
Percentage who have paid mobile phone bill late fees in the past 6 months9%3%
Average amount invested in shares$3,762$24,732
Percentage who own cryptocurrency17%20%
Percentage who are concerned about their carbon footprint69%63%

Who are Australia's renters?

The data shows men (63%) are more likely to be homeowners than women (51%).

Between the states, our western neighbours are the most likely to own land. Nearly two-thirds of those from Western Australia are homeowners (63%), compared to just 50% of those from the Northern Territory and 53% of Queenslanders.

Unsurprisingly, there is a generational divide when it comes to home ownership. Three in four baby boomers (75%) are homeowners, compared to 51% of millennials and 25% of gen Z. Nearly half (48%) of gen Z are renters.




Happiness

Renters are some of the nation's unhappiest people, according to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, a nationally representative survey of more than 30,000 respondents.

Finder's analysis compared the financial positions of renters and homeowners and found those who rent report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of money stress than homeowners.

On average, 83% of homeowners report being happy compared to 69% of renters.


Financial wellbeing

Renters are more likely to be students, young people starting their careers, or those on very low incomes which can make it difficult to get into the housing market. It also makes them more likely to struggle with their finances.

A concerning 26% of renters admit they are "extremely stressed" with their financial situation, compared to 15% of homeowners. Nearly one-third (31%) say they struggle to pay their rent, which is higher than the 22% of homeowners who struggle to pay their mortgage.

Job security is another important factor to financial security and wellbeing. While two-thirds of homeowners (67%) report feeling secure in their jobs, this drops to 61% for renters.



Savings

Aussie renters have just a fraction of the wealth of those who own property. On average, homeowners have $40,538 stashed up in savings – that's nearly 3 times as much as renters ($13,969).

1 in 4 renters (24%) have no cash savings, compared to 10% of homeowners.

Homeowners also save nearly twice as much money per month ($993) as renters ($520).



Wealth

For some renters, there are long-term impacts of being unable to save. Having a poor financial position means struggling to pay for bills today, but it also prevents you from investing in your future.

The analysis found homeowners have 6 times more money invested in shares ($24,732) than renters ($3,762) on average.

They are also marginally less likely to own cryptocurrency (17%) than homeowners (20%).


Debt

Homeowners are substantially more likely to have a credit card (81% compared to 48%), but they're also more likely to pay it off every month than renters (69% compared to 53%).

On average renters have 9.1 months worth of credit card debt, compared to 5.2 months for homeowners.

Renters are also more likely to pay late fees, particularly when it comes to their mobile phone bill (9% compared to 3%) and buy now pay later (9% compared to 5%).


How to save for a house while renting

It can be easy to panic about rising property prices – but it's certainly not all doom and gloom.

Downsize. It is absolutely possible to save for a house deposit while renting, as long as you're smart about your money where it counts. Your rent is most likely your biggest expense, so consider moving to a cheaper suburb or finding a few housemates to bring down the cost. If you have a shed or garage, consider renting it out to a neighbour.

Try "rentvesting". If you have enough saved up, you could also try your hand at rentvesting – renting a home for yourself while owning an investment property. This can be a handy way to save for your future home while earning rental income on a property that is perhaps smaller or further from the city than you would want for yourself.

Consolidate your debt. We all love to treat ourselves once in a while, but your spending habit could be wreaking havoc on your home deposit fund. If your credit card balance has started to run away from you, consider consolidating it onto a balance transfer card. This type of credit card gives you an introductory interest-free period, so you can pay off your debt faster.

When the time finally comes to buy, getting a good deal on your home loan is one of the most important things you can do.

  1. Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker is a recurring nationally representative survey of more than 30,000 respondents. The survey has been running monthly since May 2019. The CST is owned by Finder and operated by Qualtrics, an SAP company.

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