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HOUSEHOLD INVESTORS IN RENTAL DWELLINGS
Income unit type and income
As investor income units tended to have reference persons concentrated in the 35-64 years age group, they were also likely to be couple income units, many with children still at home. In June 1997, about 440,900 or 75% of investors were couples - 42% couples with dependent children and 33% couples without children.
Investor couples tended to have higher incomes than those couples who did not own rental properties. The median weekly income for couple investor units that did report income was $1,162 per week (table 8.8). The median income for all couple units, whether investors or not, was $766 per week in 1996-97. This higher median weekly income for investor couples reflects the fact that investor units are concentrated in the prime working age group. Almost 85% of these couples derived their principal source of income from wages and salaries or from their own business and a high proportion (68%) of investor couples also had both partners employed.
Lone person income units formed a much smaller group of investors, with about 129,300 owning residential rental properties in June 1997. Like their couple counterparts, the majority (79%) of these single investors were employed.
However, lone person investor units tended to have higher proportions of people in the elderly and young age groups than couple investors (table 8.7). There were 13% of one-person investor units aged 65 years and over compared to 7% of investor couples with the reference person in this age group. With the younger groups, almost 38% of lone person investor units were aged under 35 years compared with 14% of reference persons for the couple investors. Unlike couple investor units who were mainly home owners, about 60% of these young single investors were living rent free or paying rent to someone else in the household. Almost all of these were living with their parents and some may have been leasing out properties they were buying as future homes.
MOTIVATION FOR INVESTMENT
Despite the diverse demographic profile of investors, they shared some common reasons for investing. Most investors (66%) stated that one of the reasons considered when purchasing a property was that it provided a secure long-term investment.
The less frequently reported reasons for investing tended to differ with the age of the investors. For example, about 20% of investors under 45 years of age stated they were keen to reduce tax through negative gearing. The importance of negative gearing declined with the age of the reference person, with a negligible proportion aged 65 years and over citing this as a consideration in their investment decisions. For this older group of investors, the receipt of rental income was more important and cited as an investment motive by almost 30%.
As noted above, many younger investors were renting properties that might constitute a future home for them. Almost 21% of investor units with reference persons under the age of 35 held residential rental properties with this option in mind. Even for the older age groups, this was still an important consideration.
There was also a group of 'reluctant investors' - with 7% of investors stating that their properties were being rented because they wanted to sell, but were unable to find a buyer.
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