More than half of Aussies would skip a pay rise to keep working from home

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One in four 30-somethings still at home, businesses score $93 million in freebies, three in five workers prefer flex to fatter pay. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Cooped up: One in four over-30s still living at home

High property prices are making it harder for Australians to leave the family nest.

what if i would rather work from home than get a pay rise boss manager

Research by Finder shows 62% of baby boomers had moved into their first home by age 30, compared to 42% of today's gen X and 34% of millennials.

That's largely because today's first home buyers can expect to pay 4.9 times more for a home than their parents did.

The time taken to achieve home ownership varies between states. The average Western Australian gets into their first home by age 27, while in NSW where property values tend to be a lot higher, the average first home buyer is aged 34.

Finder's Sarah Megginson, observes, "Many young people are concerned that price growth over the last couple of years has ruined their chances of buying a home."

She adds a note of hope, saying, "Now that some of the heat has come out of the property market, and with prices expected to fall slightly in the year ahead, younger Australians might be in a better position to buy in the near future."

Businesses score $93 million in freebies

The Commonwealth Bank claims the Benefits Finder feature of the CommBank app and internet banking service has helped 12,500 Australian businesses claim a total of $93 million in government benefits, with the average benefit working out to about $11,000 per enterprise.

The Benefits finder scopes out business-specific perks such as state and federal COVID support measures, growth-focused grants, environmental rebates, and free training courses.

CBA Executive General Manager, Small Business Banking, Clare Morgan says, "We're moving quickly to keep updating the digital feature for businesses, with new grants, rebates and other benefits continually added every month and in response to real-time events, such as the major flooding across Australia's east coast."

More than 300 different government benefits are up for grabs nationally, and according to CommBank, the top business benefits claimed from June to December 2021 were:

  • NSW Covid Business Support Grant
  • Skill Finder business courses
  • Youth Jobs Path
  • New Enterprise Incentive Scheme  
  • Small business fees and charges rebate.

Three out of five workers prefer flexibility to a pay rise

If you're not feeling the love about returning to the office full time, you're not alone.

New research by WORKTECH Academy and Hub Australia reveals just how underwhelmed Aussie workers are at the prospect of heading back to formal workplaces after two years of remote working.

The study found that to date only 14% of workers have returned to their workplace full time, while 19% haven't made an appearance at the office at all.

Three out of five (57%) employees are so keen to remain working from home, they're willing to skip a pay rise or promotion to continue working flexibly. One in five believe the traditional office will be obsolete within 10 years.

The report notes that it's up to business leaders to rethink new work eco-systems to satisfy the craving for workplace flexibility, with possibilities including suburban work hubs.

Country trumps city for property price growth

A new PropTrack property market index launched by REA Group this month confirms that the growth train is still chugging along in regional areas.

The March index shows home values nationally rose by 0.34% for the month - a significant slowdown from the monthly figures we saw last year. However, the big winner is regional markets where values climbed 0.62% in March, eclipsing capital city price growth of 0.24%.

The locations with the biggest price rises over the past year reflect these findings. The Southern Highlands of NSW (values up 31.49%) and Moreton Bay South in Queensland (31.37%) topped the leaderboard for 12-month price growth according to PropTrack.

Gold hits 460% returns

A white paper from the Perth Mint claims, "Many astute investors allocate 5-10% of a diversified portfolio to gold". It goes on to say the price of gold (in Aussie dollars) has soared 460% since 2000.

The precious metal, which has long been regarded as a reliable store of value, has a tendency to hit the headlines during periods of rising inflation. That's not to say gold doesn't have its share of volatility.

The precious metal is currently trading at about $A2603 per ounce - above the low of $A2204 a year ago, but below the two-year high of $A2780 in September 2020.

It's possible to invest directly in gold through a variety of bullion dealers though it can come with high storage costs - as much as 1% annually, and hefty buy/sell spreads. One Melbourne bullion dealer currently has a buy price of $80,103 and a sell price of $85,122 for a one kilogram bar of bullion.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.

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