Research carried out by the Conversation based on data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics survey gathered between 2001 and 2010 shows that for every additional $100,000 on a householder's mortgage, they are 40 per cent more likely to still be in work between the ages of 45 and 64, when some are thinking about early retirement.
When this is narrowed down to people aged 55 to 64, homeowners are 18 per cent more likely to still be in work for every additional $100,000 of mortgage debt that they owe, highlighting just how beneficial buying a cheaper house can be for those wanting to retire as early on as possible.
These findings indicate that while property buyers are happy to take out higher mortgages to live in their dream homes, it does mean that they need to be prepared to remain in work for longer and potentially sacrifice an early retirement.
Yet this was not found to adversely affect homeowners' lifestyles in other ways, with the research also showing that for every extra $100,000 of mortgage debt, householders' spending increased by an additional $1,500 a month.
This demonstrates that property owners are not letting their extra years in work affect their wider lifestyle, although by reining in this spending they could potentially finish work earlier, depending on the size of their remaining mortgage.
However, the report authors suggested: "Longer life expectancy may have encouraged many Australians to plan longer working lives. Carrying higher levels of mortgage debt later in life could be a financial tactic to finance their spending over a longer lifespan."
As a result, this indicates that property buyers don't need to make their best investments in their 20s or 30s, but can instead save more. They can then spend more on a house in their 40s or 50s, work for a few more years than has previously been traditional and still enjoy a long retirement in later life, thanks to longer life expectancies.