Property investment is all the rage in Australia right now, and more and more people from all walks of life are committing to this potentially lucrative long-term investment strategy. But what exactly are people’s motivations for buying investment property? Is it financial freedom, a desire to retire comfortably, or the drive to own a tangible asset?

An ongoing study, Understanding Finance Culture, which is being conducted by a special research team at the University of Sydney, aims to discover the motivations behind people’s everyday interactions with financial products. The study also aims to understand how property investment is transforming Australian society.

With investment comes a whole range of new financial interactions that demand know-how. Ordinary households are expected to navigate the property market, make prudent choices over mortgage products, take out insurance to cover risks, and utilise tax policies like negative gearing.

The Understanding Finance Culture study aims to understand how households are faring with these new responsibilities – and much more!

An important component of the study is in-depth, one-on-one interviews with mortgage holders. So far, the study has revealed some very interesting voices.

Here are two excerpts from the archive:

“I wouldn’t say that the driver [of property investment] is retirement for a young person. The driver is freedom … A lot of young people want to be able to go on holidays whenever they want … They’re looking for freedom and the lifestyle”.

“So for my whole youth I was like this angry young woman. I was, why would you do that? And then when I got to forty I suddenly went, well, do I want to be a poor old lady? Because that’s where it’s going to go. So I did a bit of an about-turn … It was definitely a strategy for my financial wellbeing in old age. It wasn’t like, ‘I have to have my own home,’ or anything.”

Housing affordability and speculation around the Sydney property market is constantly in the news. But few people are talking to investors about their stories and motivations. The Understanding Finance Culture research team is conducting confidential, one-on-one 45-minute interviews with mortgage holders.

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