The new class system eroding Australia’s sense of the FAIR GO

BESIDES low interest rates and tax settings … what escalated house prices in Australia creating this ‘new class’ and erosion of Australia’s Fair Go?

THE solution is not to ‘tax the family home’ … because that is all the majority of Australian Boomers can give their Family who have been locked out of home ownership!

… Tax those with a property portfolio …

Was it not the high influx of ‘foreign investors’ that created much competition for our housing … laundering black money … that suddenly ordinary Aussie cottages were sold for $1.5 M that happened to coincide with the Investor Stream Visa?

LET alone the intrusion of foreign deve-lopers?

How many new ‘Permanent Residents’ are there in Australia of either Ultra or High Net Worth?

We suggest this is where the new class system began that has eroded the ‘fair go’ and divided the Australian Society into haves and have nots!

The new class system eroding Australia’s sense of the fair go

Real estate assets

Rising property prices are fuelling inequality. Photo: TND

Euan Black

Euan Black


Decades of booming property prices and stagnant wages mean assets now determine a person’s class more than their job and pay-check – and it’s making life much harder for Australians born to asset-poor parents.

In a paper published this week in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, social scientists Professor Lisa Adkins, Associate Professor Melinda Cooper and Professor Martijn Konings argue that Australian society is now split into five, asset-based classes.

At the top of the pile is Australia’s “investor” class, which comprises individuals who mostly live off the income earned through their assets.

Next are those who own their homes outright, followed by those with a mortgage.

The fourth and fifth rungs are occupied by renters and people experiencing homelessness respectively.

Ms Cooper said the new class system proved “it is no longer possible to speak about a broad middle class”.

And colleague Dr Adkins said it was entrenching inequality and eroding social mobility.

“We’re talking about a fundamental restructuring of class and inequality,” Dr Adkins told The New Daily.

“Many people talk about [inflated property prices] as a bubble that might burst … but our argument is that this is a systemic shift in society … it’s the new normal.”

Dr Adkins said the transition towards an “asset society” will widen inequality in Australia, as property prices are growing faster than wages and an increasing number of young Australians are struggling to break into the property market.

Many commentators have described this asset gap as an intergenerational divide – with older Australians who bought homes when they were affordable and benefitted from a series of housing booms on one side …

CAAN: Seriously … what thought has been given to this from commentators?

For those who own their own home … after paying it off over 30 years … continually maintaining it at high cost! It is only an investment in security of residence with the plan to ultimately hand it over to their children upon departure … to ensure their family security.

All housing has escalated in price … to sell up means one has to find the funds for legals and real estate fees, removalists … and more! Which means a loss and cost upon exchange!

It is only those in the investor class with a housing portfolio that are set to make a profit.

TND: … and young Australians who have seen property prices rise faster than incomes on the other.

But Dr Adkins said this explanation didn’t quite fit the bill, as asset-owning parents could use their wealth to help their children.

“Parents who are asset rich and have benefitted from the years of property inflation are able to give their children cash gifts or other kinds of gifts … such as letting their children live at home so that they can save a deposit,” Dr Adkins said.

“So what we’re seeing is not generational inequality, but class inequalities across generations.”

In other words: the asset-rich get richer, and the asset-poor get poorer.

“For many Western societies, in the post-war period, there was a great deal of pride in the idea that you could achieve [social] mobility within generations,” Dr Adkins said.

“But because life chances now depend on asset ownership and wealth … the chances for mobility decline for those who are not wealthy.”

Low interest rates and tax settings that encourage investment in property further compound the issue, as they both drive up the price of housing, according to John Quiggin, Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland.

Dr Quiggin said this was pushing up the value of capital relative to wages, which in turn was serving to create “patrimonial” society.

“It means having the right parents matters a lot more than it used to, because assets that are directly heritable are completely untaxed in Australia,” he said.

“This is already happening and I think it will become more evident in time.”

Real estate assets