Do more cars in the garage mean more money in the bank?

aerial shot of suburban homes with multiple cars

Six cars in the garage seems like the domain of the seriously wealthy, but the ABS tells us an altogether different story.

While we tend to think of cars as status symbols, the stats regarding the number of cars owned per household in Australia are quite revealing. In fact, rather than more wealth, more cars tend to indicate lower personal income.

Why do lower income people have more cars?

You’d be forgiven for thinking people with less money are viewing cars as assets or accruing debt over car purchases. In reality, it’s not that simple.

A lot of this has to do with trends in property prices.

With a general trend of higher cost properties and more expensive rent closer to urban centres, the necessity for cars is higher in areas less serviced by public transport or walking routes. 

What does that mean? Well, if you’ve got less of a mortgage, you probably need a car to get to work. Lower income also means a higher likelihood of more adults living at home, whether in a share home or together with family into adulthood. 

More adults living under one roof means more cars, and usually lower personal income. Household income in total can distort the story, because if multiple adults in one house are working, it can add up to an impressive figure.

This also means that these are the households paying the most for petrol, especially when paired with what can be much lengthier commutes. 

There are, of course, outliers to this trend: wealthy car collectors and share houses without a single car amongst a dozen people. Next time you see a house with two cars in the carport, one on the lawn, and taking up another parking spot? It might be worth reconsidering your frustration!

Have a spare car hanging around at home? It might be time to sell. If you’re looking for a new car, take a look at Mozo's best car loans.

Compare car loans - last updated 13 August 2022

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^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Personal Loan Awards

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