Home alone? Be wary of poor advice VIC, 11 July 2006: People living alone have been warned of the risk of relying on friends and family for building and renovation advice, which can result in costly mistakes. The growth in single occupant households means there are many thousands of people who are turning to friends and relatives for tips and advice on household management and renovations. “Friends can be a great source of general information but it can sometimes lead people down the wrong path and cause expensive mistakes,” said Guy McGrath, Joint Managing Director of HomeSource, the legal and building advisory service for home owners. Almost one-quarter (24.4%) of homes in Victoria are sole occupancies. This figure is expected to increase through the effects of divorce, separation, an increase in women's life expectancy, and young people delaying marriage. ‘It can be very stressful when total responsibility for home maintenance falls solely on a person living alone, particularly if they are also working full time’, he sad. ‘People can often get conflicting and incorrect advice, and even be encouraged to take on DIY jobs that should be left to professionals. ‘Often people will ask help of well-meaning friends or family, who in reality, are no better informed than they are. It is important that where there is any doubt, that people gain professional and independent advice. ‘Those who don’t have knowledgeable friends or relatives to help them with their home need to find professionals that are reliable, independent, trustworthy and on-call when needed. ‘Just knowing you can pick up the phone for all the right advice is a great reassurance, particularly if you live alone.’ HomeSource has a database of qualified local tradespeople as well as on call builders and lawyers to answer your specific questions. This means there’s less risk and less wasted time when help is needed. -2- ‘More and more people are buying HomeSource memberships for relatives and family members who live by themselves,’ he said. ‘They believe it’s worth it for the peace of mind.’ For an annual membership of $110 members receive person-to-person legal advice by phone on anything to do with home owner rights, disputes or issues; professional building advice on any DIY job, home repair or renovation; and access to a network of licensed tradespeople committed to high quality service (call 1300 733 420 or visit www.homesource.com.au). - end - Further information Bob Bowden HomeSource - Communications Tel: (02) 9552 6351 Email: email@example.com LOCALISED COPY INSERTS NSW (Regional) – Almost one-quarter (23.9%) of all homes in NSW have a sole occupant. Vic - Almost one-quarter (24.4%) of all homes in Victoria have a sole occupant. ACT - Almost one-quarter (23.8%) of all homes in the ACT have a sole occupant. NT – More than one in five (21.3%) of all homes in the Territory have a sole occupant. Qld - Almost one-quarter (23.8%) of all homes in Queensland have a sole occupant. SA – More than one-quarter (28%) of all homes in South Australia have a sole occupant. This is highest proportion of any state. Tas – More than one-quarter (27.7%) of all homes in Tasmania have a sole occupant. This is the second highest proportion after South Australia. WA – Almost one-quarter (24.7%) of all homes in Western Australia have a sole occupant. ABS Population The number of people living alone is projected to increase from 1.8 million in 2001 to between 2.8 million and 3.7 million in 2026. This is related to the ageing population, delayed marriage and increases in divorce and separation. Sept 2004 According to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics a staggering 3.1 million people will live alone by 2026, up from 1.8 million at the 2001 census. One person households are predicted to increase faster than any other. The bureau's report, presented at the Australian Population Association conference in Canberra recently, describes the increase as phenomenal, adding that the largest growth is among the young. Indeed, since 1971, the number of people aged from 25 to 45 living alone has increased by 250 per cent. AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL TRENDS - STATE/TERRITORY SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION The following table provides some state/territory specific information related to highlights in the national Australian Social Trends media release. According to the Aun NSW NSW Vic Qld SA WA Tas NT ACT Australia Percentage of households that were lone 23.9 24.4 23.8 28.0 24.7 27.7 21.3 23.8 24.5 person households in 2001 (a) Household projections - percentage 34.9 37.0 67.7 20.2 53.0 16.3 43.5 34.1 41.7 increase in number of households between 2001 and 2026 (Series B ll)(b) Total fertility rate (per female), 2003 (c) 1.80 1.67 1.78 1.72 1.74 1.89 2.38 1.60 1.76 Births to mothers aged 35 and over - 19.5 21.2 16.5 20.1 18.2 14.6 15.4 20.0 19.1 percent of all births in 2003 (d) Percentage of male earnings earned by 91 89 91 95 88 94 99 94 92 females in May 2004, in terms of mean hourly ordinary-time earnings of full-time adult non-managerial employees (e) Employees without leave entitlements 23.9 22.6 30.3 29.6 26.4 28.5 20.8 21.1 25.5 (casual employees) in 2003 - percent of all employees (f) Household water use per capita - kL in 101 102 137 123 132 130 212 117 115 2000-01 (g) (a) P. 33, Family and community indicators (b) P.11, Future living arrangements article (c) P. 34, Family and community indicators (d) P. 34, Family and community indicators (e) ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (f) ABS Labour Force Survey and ABS Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (g) PP. 182-3. Household water use and conservation article ABS LONE PERSON HOUSEHOLDS The number of people living alone is projected to increase from 1.8 million in 2001 to between 2.8 million (Series I) and 3.7 million (Series III) in 2026 - an increase of between 57% and 105%. This large projected increase is related to rapid population growth in older age groups, delayed marriage and increase in divorce and separation. In all three series, women account for more than half of the number of people living alone (between 54% in Series III and 59% in Series I). This reflects the greater number of women than men in older age groups as a result of womens' longer life expectancy. While women are more likely to live alone in old age, men have a tendency to live alone in younger age groups. The effects of separation and divorce, where men are less likely to be the resident parent (see Australian Social Trends 2003, Changing families) contributes to the numbers of younger men who live alone. In 2001, men and women aged 65 and over comprised 37% of lone person households. This proportion is expected to increase to between 41% (Series III) and 50% (Series I).